Charity's lion visits Camden's Pirate Castle | Hampstead Highgate Express – Hampstead Highgate Express

Sam Volpe
John the Lyon was cheering on the young kayakers at the Pirate Castle – Credit: John Lyon's Charity
Over the summer, a fluffy lion has been visiting organisations in Camden, and beyond, which benefit from the John Lyon’s Charity’s (JLC) School Holiday Activity Fund. 
Earlier in August, mascot John the Lyon went to the Regent’s Canal in Camden and visited the children kayaking with the Pirate Castle team.
Both charities have been among those supported to deliver summer holiday provision by the JLC, which is a grant-giving organisation working in Camden along with a number of boroughs including Brent, Harrow and Ealing.
Kal Webb, development manager at Pirate Castle, said: “Our Young Pirates were delighted to welcome John the Lyon to The Pirate Castle to celebrate John Lyon’s Charity’s 30th anniversary of funding vital youth work.
“The charity has been a lifeline for our charity since 1992 and they’ve made a huge difference in keeping us afloat.”
Earlier this year, the Pirate Castle was forced to run a crowdfunding campaign to plug the gaps left in its funding by the pandemic. 
John the Lyon with some friends at the Pirate Castle – Credit: John Lyon's Charity
Kal said JLC’s school holiday fund made a “massive difference” over the summer, and it helps with “opening up paddlesport and canal-based activities to local kids for the first time”.
The fund is designed to enable organisations to deliver fun and accessible activities for children and young people during the school holidays, including all half-term breaks, Easter, Christmas and the summer holiday.
A JLC spokesperson said: “After a very difficult year for many children and young people, John Lyon’s Charity could not be happier to see SHAF’s resume to a new form of normal and is delighted to be able to celebrate with them.”
Young kayakers get going in Regent's Canal with the Pirate Castle – Credit: John Lyon's Charity
Earlier in the month, the JLC team found their way to Belsize Park in order to deliver cupcakes to children taking part in activities at Wac Arts. 
The charity has a long history of supporting charities in Camden, and last year was a key supporter of groups like Swiss Cottage-based The Winch and the Somali Youth Development Resource Centre in Somers Town. 
Back then, the charity said government support for the charity sector amid the height of the Covid-19 pandemic had not come quickly enough.
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