Charity launches free respite holidays for disabled people and their families

Jane and Luke

A unique respite service for disabled people and their families will open its doors for the first time on Saturday 12 October.

Papworth Trust’s Kerry Farm near Newtown in Wales provides free respite holidays for families who desperately need a short break.

The trial project for the farm was recently featured on Channel 4’s The Secret Millions, where three families were invited to celebrity farmer Jimmy Doherty’s farm in Suffolk for a real break away from their everyday stresses and strains.

Thanks to £2 million of funding from the Big Lottery Fund (BIG), disability charity Papworth Trust was able to make the trial project a reality and buy and renovate Kerry Farm.

The farm will welcome its first families on Saturday October 12. During their stay, families will have the chance to get involved with farm life, such as helping to look after the animals and growing fruit and vegetables. They will stay in accessible holiday cottages, and experienced staff and family experts will be on hand if they need any extra support and guidance.

19 year old Luke from Cambridgeshire took part in the trial project 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, “We are looking forward to welcoming our first families to Kerry Farm. At Papworth Trust we understand the impact disability can have. It can be hard to have quality, stress free time together as a family.

“Typical respite is where the disabled person goes away while their family stays at home. Our respite holidays are unique because they offer a chance for the whole family to have a supported break together, without the pressures of everyday life. Kerry Farm gives families the support they need to enjoy valuable family moments and learn new things.”

The next round of applications for a break at Kerry Farm in 2014 is due to open at the end of October 2013. For the latest updates on when applications open and to find out more about the farm, please go to: www.papworth.org.uk/kerryfarm

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