Revitalise is a national charity that provides respite holidays for disabled people and carers. These are short breaks with 24-hour nurse-led care on-call and personal support at its three accessible UK centres in Chigwell, Essex; Southampton and Southport. Each centre offers a range of accessible activities and excursions in a holiday environment.
Revitalise is also lucky enough to be supported by the largest residential volunteer programme of any UK charity. In many ways, volunteers are the charity’s magic ingredient. They help to create the lively, social atmosphere that is unique to a Revitalise break. Volunteers are also able to gain in confidence and experience.
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Revitalise’s centres cater for adults with over 150 different impairments and the charity aims to provide a refreshing alternative to traditional residential respite care.
50% of guests and carers said that a Revitalise break did or could have prevented their relationship from breaking down.
Revitalise guest Lesley Mathews lives alone. Her only immediate family is her daughter, Chelsea, who is studying to be a teacher. Lesley talks about how she wants Chelsea to make the very most of her life, even though it might mean sacrificing some of her own needs – and how Revitalise helps her cope:
“I want her to have her own life, a good life"
“Chelsea is so important to me. It’s just me and her now. I was an only child and both my parents have passed away. I try really hard not to burden her with my problems – I want her to have her own life, a good life. If she’s happy, I’m happy. Chelsea visits me when she can but she knows I want her to focus on her career. I’m so proud of her.
“There’s no denying I do feel isolated"
“I lost my left leg in 2007, due to complications after an operation. Since becoming a wheelchair user I realise that there are so many things I can’t do any more, so many things I miss. There’s no denying I do feel isolated and without the chance to get away from time to time I think I’d get very bored and probably very lonely too.
“It’s so nice to meet up with friends"
“I first heard about Revitalise back in 2011. I like to go to Netley. When I look out over Southampton Water it reminds me of when I used to go sailing with my dad – such happy times…
“I’m booked into Revitalise Netley in December and intend to do all my Christmas shopping when I’m there! But it’s the social aspect that’s most important to me, the chance to meet up with old friends. At home all we can do is speak on the phone – it’s not the same." For more information on Revitalise and how to support them, please visit revitalise.org.uk
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