Better Breaks for CCLASP Families
A story by CCLASP
Every year we organise special breaks for our families. The children and young people we support have cancer or leukaemia – a long term or incurable disease. Many of our families are on low incomes because they are carers and have had to give up paid employment.
We have been able to offer new and additional holidays to the families who come to us for support. Holidays have included to Torquay in Devon and Donnas Dreamhouse in Blackpool.
Finding out that your child has a long term or incurable disease is distressing, frightening and confusing. What parents and carers need is access to reliable information and support from people who understand the emotional turmoil they are going through and that is what we provide.
Tip 1:Pilot the new holidays first to get feedback and make appropriate changes to the project. We have done this but are running out of time, because of the funding restrictions, to roll out these changes.
Tip 2:Expand the age range of the representatives on our Young Person Group to reflect their interests and to feed into the type of holiday that they would like to have.
Tip 3:Never underestimate the time you have to invest in organising these holidays.
We wanted to provide young people with Cancer and Leukaemia to enjoy a few relaxing days with their family away from treatment and in a new environment. To enjoy some very special experiences with their family which would hugely improve their wellbeing and allow them to have fun!
" I have never been on holiday before. It was nice to see England. I loved the beach and the fun fair. I was worried that mum was spending too much and then she told me how you had been given money to pay for some of our holiday. I can't remember a better time."
" Blackpool was amazing. I went just before going back into hospital for a long stay. When I was there I completely forgot about my treatments. I still had to take my medicines but It didn't seem so bad."
"Thank you for the holiday to Torquay. I don't see much of my dad because he is always working while mum looks after me. We did loads together. The best bit was the beach but I wasn't allowed on the donkeys or in the sea because of infections. I did get a toffee apple as one of my five a day.!
We know how important it is for parents and carers to have the opportunity to spend quality time with their sick young person and siblings.
" Thank you so much for our family holiday to Torquay. It's the best holiday we have ever had. Money is tight and there is no way I could have taken the kids away without your help."
"Just wanted to say a big thank you for our fabulous time in Blackpool. Eva enjoyed very minute of it and although it was only a few days but I feel more rested and more able to cope with the challenges ahead."
A change of environment restores balance and peace into what can often be a frenetic day to day existence. For some of our young people it will be their first holiday and for many of our families it is the only holiday they will have - holidays are just not affordable when you are on a low income.
Some of our families have indicated that although they were appreciate of the offer of holidays to Torquay and free accommodation the distance for some was too far to travel an that breaks to Blackpool where less onerous.
We know how much these holidays mean to the families we support but we have been overwhelmed by the enormity of the positive feedback.
We feel that the holidays now on offer are better suited for our families. Staff at Shared Care Scotland have been very helpful with every aspect of this grant and subsequent report. Thank you