Thamesmead Adventure Scheme

In the late 1980s, PC Rick Beavis, a community policeman who served Thamesmead for 14 years, was discussing with residents the problems and issue of youths hanging about during the summer holidays. Having previously served in the army and as a scout leader Rick thought he could set-up a camp on undeveloped land at Crossways. He draw-up some plans and put the proposal to both his Chief Superintendent and to Thamesmead Town – both of whom highlighted the many legitimate concerns and issues. 

Thamesmead Adventure Scheme

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Undeterred by this Rick went ahead with the first Thamesmead Adventure in 1989 with forty children attending each week for four weeks. Those attending were a mix of ages and abilities and included both those who wanted to attend and those who were referred due to social or behavioural issues. 

The army opened its stores to the Scheme providing it with a range of equipment including tents, a generator, tables and chairs and more. The programme was also supported by the local councils and by many local groups and businesses who donated money or goods and local supermarkets donating food and run by a willing team of volunteer team leaders. 


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I had so much fun I didn’t want to come home…” “…getting dirty and not having parents nag you…” “…cooking our own breakfast and lunch and generally getting dirty and smelly

camp attendees shared their experiences with a local newspaper reporter

There were always team-orientated activities to get them working together to solve a puzzle or complete a task. In addition they were able to try their hand at hiking, camping, banger racing, abseiling, archery, clay-pigeon shooting and paintballing.

Rick used his contacts to arrange trips and visits including the Royal Artillery Assault course, London City Airport and the Fire Brigade. 

The Adventure Scheme ran until 2000 by which time an estimated 1000 children had attended. It is clear the scheme had a positive impact on many of the individuals. 

The success of the scheme was clear with it serving as the model for the Metropolitan Police National Summer Scheme. 

Rick Beavis was awarded the MBE for Services to the Community in 2002.


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