Reversal of fortune for disability charity despite recession

National disability charity Vitalise has published its Annual Review, which tells the story of its journey through a crucial period of restructuring, refocusing and consolidation, resulting in the charity returning a surplus in 2011-12 after successive years of deficits.

On the eve of Vitalise’s 50th year of existence, the Review, published this month, details the strategy that guided the charity through this key period, highlights the achievements of 2011-12 and sets out the charity’s plans for future growth.

The document also showcases the revitalising impacts on Vitalise’s guests of its innovative, person-centred approach to respite breaks.

The several case studies featured in the Annual Review include individuals coping with the increasing restrictions of progressive disabilities, life-changing injuries and the devastating impact of Alzheimer’s disease. The Review also features the family carers whose capacity to cope is greatly enhanced by the breaks Vitalise provides for their loved ones.

Vitalise’s core service is the provision of affordable, accessible short respite breaks for people with physical disabilities, people affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia, older people and family carers. The aim of the breaks is to improve the quality of life of people affected by disability by restoring their confidence, wellbeing and capacity to cope.

What sets Vitalise apart from other providers is that its breaks are provided in a holiday environment with opportunities for the charity’s guests to enjoy life-enhancing new experiences and a range of activities that might be near to impossible for them anywhere else. The Annual Review explains how this approach enables Vitalise to go beyond conventional notions of respite.

Vitalise Chief Executive Chris Simmonds said: “We wanted our Annual Review to reflect the values that have always been at the core of all we do – to treat people with disabilities as everyone would expect to be treated, as individuals with needs, desires and aspirations.

“There is no greater testimony to the success of our mission than the voices of the people who have benefitted from Vitalise breaks, into whose lives we have restored hope, happiness and vitality.

“Next year we celebrate our Golden Anniversary, and we can now look forward leaner, fitter and with our focus firmly on growth.”

Vitalise operates three specialised UK centres located in Chigwell in Essex, Southampton and Southport, each providing 24-hour nursing care on call and the personal support of volunteers, together with an inclusive programme of accessible excursions, activities and entertainment.

The Vitalise Annual Review 2011-12 can be viewed or downloaded at the Vitalise website: www.vitalise.org.uk and printed copies are available on request.

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