Free respite holidays for disabled people and their families

Disability charity Papworth Trust is offering free respite holidays to disabled people and their families thanks to £2 million of Lottery cash.

Typical respite is where the disabled person goes away while their family stays at home. The Trust’s respite holidays are unique because they offer a chance for the whole family to together have a supported break, without the pressures of everyday life.

Papworth Trust ran a pilot for this new service, which was shown on Channel 4’s The Secret Millions on Sunday 24 March.

19-year-old Luke from Peterborough took part in the filming with his parents Chris and Jane. Luke has Down’s Syndrome and was quite shy at first. Since the respite holiday he has become much more independent, taking part in local amateur dramatics and setting his sights on a role in EastEnders one day.

Dad Chris saw some real changes from the respite holiday. He said: “I thought Luke was going to struggle but he just took to everything. He amazed me. I think it proved to us that Luke can do things that we didn’t think he could, and perhaps sometimes we were holding him back slightly. We can now let him go that little bit more.”

Mum Jane said: “It was such a benefit having more quality time together – normally Luke just has respite on his own. It’s really brought the family close together. Anybody that gets the opportunity will have a fantastic time.”

Adrian Bagg, Papworth Trust’s Chief Executive, said, “At Papworth Trust we understand the impact disability can have. It can be hard to have quality, stress free time together as a family.

“Disabled people and their families will now be able to apply for free respite holidays thanks to the Big Lottery Fund. The pilot shown in The Secret Millions was an amazing experience for the families involved. It is fantastic that Papworth Trust will now be able to offer that farm experience to disabled people of any age, wherever they come from in the UK.

“We’re going to renovate a 16th century farmhouse in a beautiful part of Wales and start welcoming families from late summer this year. Please go to www.papworth.org.uk/kerryfarm to find out more.”