Providing respite holidays for families
Disability charity, Papworth Trust received £2 million from the Big Lottery Fund to purchase and renovate Kerry Farm and fund respite holidays for families. Paul, Sue, Sue’s grandson Warren and personal assistant Luke went to Kerry Farm in June 2014.
This is Paul’s story.
It seems impossible to relate in less than 400 words what the Papworth Trust have created in Kerry Farm, how much it meant to my family and what it will mean to those yet to visit.
But I’ll try…
After years in the role, the daily caring routine often de-personalises kinship carers. Finances may suffer because long caring hours might preclude working. The family is at high risk of fragmentation or social isolation: nobody you know really understands the stark reality of caring, long-term for a disabled child or other relative.
Everything the carer has is given freely to the disabled person and they wear out: physically and, maybe especially, emotionally. In extreme cases, real depression follows.
Carers cope somehow. They have to.
We didn’t really know quite what to expect at Kerry Farm. It was to be Warren’s first-ever holiday and ours as a family unit.
We were welcomed on arrival and smiling within minutes. Within hours, the ‘real world’ seemed a distant dream.
There was no sense of pressure whatsoever; the staff made it clear that we could be as involved in organised activities as we wished. If we wanted to do anything specific, they would try and arrange it for us. Whatever we did, we were required to do one thing – relax and be ourselves.
To be together as a family, without normal routine and in a disabled-friendly environment was unique in itself.
There was no judgement, no expectation. The staff were fantastic. They listened if we needed to talk, together or individually. They helped with anything we needed, showing natural empathy, without prejudice or pre-conception, something rarely encountered. Nothing was too much trouble.
Meeting other families with similar lives was brilliant. Shared experiences were openly discussed with real understanding of each others’ situations. We discovered we really aren’t alone!
Kerry Farm provides a uniquely invaluable escape from the pressures that families like ours suffer from to a greater or lesser extent. It offers a retreat: a getaway, where the world can be forgotten for a few days. A few days to pause, rest, meet and make new friends, experience a different environment and above all, relax together.
Every kinship carer and their family need access to a Kerry Farm.
I am going to repeat that loud and clear…
Every kinship carer and their family need access to a Kerry Farm!
Oh… did I mention the animals?
If you’d like to read more about our week at Kerry Farm, please visit www.papworthtrust.org.uk/warren
You can find out more about Kerry Farm on their website www.papworthtrust.org.uk/kerryfarm
In March 2013 the project featured in an episode of Channel 4’s The Secret Millions. You can watch again on Channel 4, Monday 7 July at 00:35.