The Project

The Future of Over the Wall Camp

We are excited to announce that we have signed a minimum 40-year lease for the former Ockbrook School, near Derby, which will become our new headquarters and future base for our award-winning residential and other programmes.

Learn more about the details of the project below


Introduction to Over The Wall UK Camp

As a result of long-term health conditions, more than 1 in 10 children in the UK can be denied a carefree childhood, and this number is growing. Over The Wall Camp empowers children and families to explore new possibilities to rediscover the fun and magic of childhood. We provide a place to be brave and have fun with others. These amazing places are in-person – at residential camps and also available online – with Camp in the Cloud.

Founded in 1999 by the late Oscar-winning Hollywood actor and philanthropist, Paul Newman, and businessman, Joe Woods, Over The Wall Camp provides free residential activity experiences for children and young people with long-term health conditions and disabilities and their families.

When Over The Wall Camp first launched, it catered for 25 children with cancer. After that first camp, the charity went from strength to strength.

We have been running residential camps at rented properties throughout the UK for 25 years where we have served more than 9,000 beneficiaries with more than 130 different health conditions.

We keep Paul Newman’s dream alive in the UK, by providing a safe environment where children with illness can thrive and ‘raise hell’, in a world of mischief, magic and new possibilities.

How campers feel before camp
Campers feelings before camp
How campers feel after camp
Campers feelings after camp

Over The Wall Camp teaches you that it’s all about “I can" not "I can’t”. You push limits and break down barriers that you face in life. You’re more than just your illness and not just the sick kid.

Len- Health Challenge Camper

The Project

Our Future

Imagine a place where every child with a long-term health condition is supported and empowered to live their best life.

This is the vision that drives us to undertake our biggest project yet.

By acquiring a permanent site at the former Ockbrook School, we will be able to serve over 100,000 children during the 40-year lease, providing them with the clinical care and state-of-the-art facilities they need to thrive. With this fun-packed therapeutic recreation programme, we hope to inspire every child to rediscover the fun and joy of childhood.

With illness, some children and young people have to grow up faster than others.

For 25 years our transformational camps, run at rented properties throughout the UK, have provided over 9,000 children with the opportunity to just be kids again and experience the joy and camaraderie of friendship.

The acquisition of the former Ockbrook School near Derby will provide a permanent home for Over The Wall Camp, allowing more than three times the number of children to annually experience their own personal amazing adventure.

Supported by first class clinical facilities and fabulous recreational amenities, our staff and remarkable volunteers (many of them former campers) will take care of everything so that our campers get on with the very serious business of being a kid.

Midlands Family Camp 2023
A Landmark Site

Over the Wall’s vision for Ockbrook is to sustainably reimagine this significant heritage landscape. To create a setting that is both restorative and invigorating. A place for inspiration and adventure.

Fabulous indoor amenities to try new activities

Thickets of trees, perfect for den-building

Cozy places to gather around the campfire

Spaces to sleep under the stars


Over The Wall Camp has provided an escape for young people and their families for 25 years – a place for them to be challenged, to celebrate their accomplishments and to figure out who they are.

Ockbrook will be the next chapter in our story, providing a permanent home in an uplifting natural setting that will allow us to offer even greater adventures to more children and families than ever before.

Agatha’s Story and Vision of Camp

“When I was four, I found out I had leukaemia. I don’t remember much from before my time in the hospital as I was in there for two years. It meant I missed a lot of school because I was very poorly.

I was nervous going to camp because I’d never been away from my parents before, but I didn’t have to worry. Even though camp only lasted a few days, I made memories that would last a lifetime!

I wouldn’t wish cancer on anybody, but there were loads of people at camp like me who knew how it felt so we could talk about it.

I tried so many different things and met so many people. From trying archery to watching the circus, camp had lots of activities to keep us entertained. When I left camp, I felt more confident and couldn’t wait to tell Mum and Dad what I’d been up to!”

Len’s Story and Vision of Camp

“I was on the climbing wall. I was really nervous to do it. All the volunteers and children were cheering me on because I was really struggling. 

At the time I only had use of one of my arms. I fell and I kept falling and gave up. But at the end, the instructors said they had time for two or three more people to give it another try. I was too scared at first, but everyone managed to convince me to give it another try. When I did it, I made it ¾ of the way up, everyone was cheering me on and clapping for me. 

So it just shows, even though I didn’t do the best out of my group I did the best out of my ability. They were all so proud of me, which made me proud of myself. I didn’t think I’d be able to do the climbing at all, but I didn’t give up – I persevered and it made me more resilient.”

Charlotte’s Story and Vision of Camp

“There were some things I was a bit scared to come out of my shell about.

I’d not really been myself before camp and I was struggling to find my feet again and actually be who I wanted to be. I’d transferred school and was so scared I wasn’t going to make any friends and I’d be really lonely.

When I went to camp I realised I can make friends and people are nice. Everyone makes you feel so worthy to just be who you are. I was so grateful to be there.

I’m much more confident, feel more myself and feel much lighter.”

A camp you know everyone’s in the same boat, it brings you close together because you know these people have gone through the same sort of stuff as you and they understand what it’s like. It’s like a big family – as soon as you walk in and you put on your camp t-shirt everyone is there for you, and they’re all so kind and funny. 

Charlotte- Sibling Camper

The Plan

Masterplan Overview
  1. The Sports Field
  2. Communal growing area
  3. Wicker Tunnels
  4. The Sports Hall
  5. The Mallelieu Centre (arts centre)
  6. The Science Block (converted to accommodation)
  7. The Grange (converted to family volunteer/staff accommodation)
  8. Small playground area
  9. Stargazing Platform
  10. Communal Firepit
  11. Wildflower meadow
  12. Reinforced Boundary Planting
  13. Outdoor Sleeping Area
  14. The Adventure Playground
  15. The Canopy Adventure
  16. Lodge Accommodation
  17. Facilities Pavilion
  18. Tree Circle
  19. Birtill Hall (in future phases converted to a dining hall for 150 people)
  20. Drama and cinema room
  21. The Clinical Area
  22. The Dining Room
  23. Main School Building
  24. Swallow’s Rest (Visitor Reception)
  25. Outdoor Entrance Plaza
  26. Visitor car drop-off
  27. Main Visitor Carpark
  28. Gatehouse
  29. The Mount (converted to visitor accommodation)
  30. Mews Cottage (converted to volunteer/staff accommodation)
  31. Broadstairs House (volunteer/staff accommodation)
  32. Lily House (volunteer/staff accommodation)
  33. Pedestrian Bridge
  34. Outdoor Amphitheatre
  35. Wetland Area
Activities Site Map

1.  Heart of Our Community

  • Working fruit, herb and veg garden
  • Community meals
  • Community performances
  • Town hall meetings
  • Community art projects
  • Welcome and goodbye point

2.  Creativity

  • Arts and crafts
  • Science and technology
  • Drama and music
  • Sports and fitness
  • Digital, VR & gaming suite
  • Mental wellbeing

3.  Sanctuary

  • Sleeping accommodation
  • Private spaces
  • Quiet spaces
  • Communal spaces
  • Medical Care

4.  Teamwork

  • Team sports
  • Group activities and team building
  • Be a spectator or take part
  • Communal pavilions

5.  Into the Wild, Discover Your Wild Side

  • Climbing, abseiling, zip-lining, treetop walks
  • Nature trails
  • Hidden stories and myths
  • Secret spaces
  • Camping and campfire storytelling
  • Foraging
  • Survival skills
Key Facilities

The dynamic programme of activities at Ockbrook will be supported by inspiring communal spaces, restful accommodation and first-class medical care.

  • Inviting shared spaces, from airy gathering places to cosy snugs
  • Inclusive and accessible outdoor adventure activities  supported by our dedicated team of volunteers
  • Art rooms, sports facilities and digital hubs
  • Welcoming dining hall at the heart of the site
  • State-of-the-art clinical facilities
  • Dedicated nursing team and registered medical professionals on site at all times
  • Relaxed and comfortable accommodation, including fully accessible rooms
Our Community

The sustainable restoration and reimagination of this special site will place Over The Wall Camp at the heart of its community, reactivating this local icon for all to enjoy.

  • Rejuvenating and opening up a beloved historic site
  • Creating new job and volunteering opportunities
  • Supporting and engaging the local community
  • Developing a sustainable approach to the use of the site
  • Being a positive partner with the local community
Making It Happen

Without a permanent home, Over The Wall’s full potential has been limited in terms of extending and diversifying our reach and impact.

The development of the former Ockbrook School addresses these challenges, enabling us broaden our support to provide even more seriously ill children and their families with the highest quality experience through consistent operational delivery and facilities. Creating greater organisational resilience, it will also offer significant opportunities for sustainable income and further growth into the future.

Our vision to create a state-of-the-art residential activity centre at Ockbrook will be transformational not only in terms of the beneficiaries we serve, but also:

  • As an important heritage conservation project
  • As a valuable community asset
  • As a highly accessible facility and resource for other national organisations and charities

Over The Wall has a comprehensive fundraising strategy and a dedicated team in place to achieve the £3m required to make Ockbrook ‘camp ready’ by the end of 2025 (Phase 1a). A second milestone (Phase 1b), requiring a further £3m, will provide more accommodation and greater facilities by 2028, enabling us serve 1,500 beneficiaries each year.

An aspirational target of £8m by 2030 will provide the funding to complete our vision: A centre of excellence for more than 3,000 Over the Wall beneficiaries each year.

We are seeking support at all levels from grant-makers, businesses, and individuals to achieve our financial goals with a range of recognition opportunities available across the site.


  1. A pioneering charity with a profoundly impactful mission
  2. A permanent home in a rejuvenating tranquil landscape
  3. More adventurous, confidence-boosting and creative experiences than ever before
  4. An opportunity to support more children and families facing serious illness
  5. A sustainable reimagining of a significant heritage site

To see your child who's struggling with so many health issues come off a residential with a smile that looked a thousand miles wide melts my heart every single time. I will always be eternally grateful to Over The Wall for being a part of my boy's life.

Camper Parent

Get Involved

Your involvement is the catalyst for change! Whether you’re a long-standing resident, a former student, an ex-member of staff at Ockbrook, or are just interested in getting involved to help others less fortunate – we would like to hear from you. Together, we will build a legacy that generations to come will be proud of. 

corporate partnerships


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Mother and daughter at Over The Wall Family Camp wearing helmets ready to abseil. Young girl has a feeding tube.


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