Eighteen young people with sensory impairments from Birmingham enjoyed an exciting short break away from home in late August. These week-long short breaks were arranged as part of a partnership between Sense and Birmingham City Council.
The short breaks took place in Macaroni Wood, Gloucestershire and Standon Bowers Activity Centre, Staffordshire. Each location specialises in a range of engaging and challenging activities, allowing young people to play and explore safely.
The young people tried new activities including music workshops, trips to wildlife parks, movie nights, archery, potholing and high ropes.
At Macaroni Wood, the group enjoyed exploring the venue, using the onsite go-karts, bouncing on the trampolines and collecting eggs each morning from the chickens.
The site has brilliant facilities and the holidaymakers made good use of the sports hall and obstacle courses. Over the weeks, many young people gained confidence, built friendships and independence. One parent told us their son came home feeling “more confident interacting with new people”.
At Standon Bowers, the young people tried a variety of challenging and ambitious activities like high ropes, bridge building and potholing.
Potholing proved a big success! The holiday leader remembers how much fun one young person had, saying “it was the most laughter I’ve heard!” The activities are adapted to the needs of our group by the centre’s trained staff. The young people with mobility issues were able to travel through the potholing tunnels on a custom-made wheeled slate.
These short breaks wouldn’t be possible without our amazing group of volunteers. We had a range of people of different ages, from different backgrounds; from college students to communication support workers, who all gave up their time to spend a week volunteering with these brilliant individuals. One volunteer noted that seeing “their lovely smiles!” made it special.
We are running another short break in October and then throughout 2017.