A holiday treat
Mavis Akril shares her experience of staying at a holiday centre in Chigwell, part of the Revitalise Group – www.revitalise.org.uk. There are two other centres in the group, in Southport (Liverpool) and Southampton.
“We missed the last MSA Support Group meeting at Etton because we were on holiday.
I have had MS for over 50 years and Colin left work to look after me full time in 1982. Working with a diet along with other alternative treatment I improved a little but gradually noticed Colin was not ‘right’. In 2004 he was told he had MSA. He was also diagnosed with dementia. I became his main carer and the tables were turned.
I sent for the brochure from Revitalise Respite Holidays for Disabled people and Carers. It looked VERY expensive and we did not feel we could afford it, but after a year we were offered, through Revitalise, a great subsidy. So, we went to Jubilee Lodge in Chigwell, Essex. It was a four-hour drive luckily our son could take us. With trepidation, we turned up at Jubilee Lodge on Saturday morning, not too sure what to find. But, we were warmly greeted and given a cup of tea and welcome chat with a volunteer. The young volunteer and a member of staff even offered to unpack for us. Everybody was so friendly, after lunch we had to choose which outing we wished to take. You can go on four outings across a one week break at no extra cost and a volunteer would accompany you on each one. A packed lunch, chosen by yourself was also provided.
Accommodation was a twin room, there were single rooms available too. With lots of volunteers, as well as a lot of staff, there were plenty of people to look after you. Nothing was too much trouble for the volunteers helping us. Even your laundry was done at no extra charge. Wished I known that before packing so much!!
For the first time in a very long time I went on an outing without Colin. He stayed with the staff, volunteers and lots of other ‘guests’ and carers. Didn’t even miss me, he was so well looked after and had a great day. He declared he had never stopped laughing. Everybody was so helpful, friendly and jolly and couldn’t do enough for everybody there. There was entertainment every evening, I had a whale of a time, even tried wheelchair dancing and karaoke, but that’s another story!! Together we went on other outings to the Southbank in London, going on the London Eye; then to Camden Market and to Covent Garden.
It was absolutely fantastic, we didn’t know there was somewhere like this where we could go for a ‘proper holiday’. If you need a break then give it a try I can thoroughly recommend it.”
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