George’s Sense Holiday

Recently, I went on one of the best holidays of my life. No it wasn’t the jungles of Thailand or India. Nor was it the sprawling cities of New York or Berlin. It was Bewdley just outside of Kidderminster. Actually, it was just outside of Bewdley, just outside of Kidderminster. While it is not the most well-known or sought after destinations, Frank Chapman Centre hosted two groups of Sense holidaymakers, volunteers and leaders for a week of fun, friendship and adventure!

It was a cold Saturday morning when Emily Forman (Intervenor Service Manager) and I met up to prepare for our long journey from London to Bewdley. We were leading a Sense holiday together and while Emily led one last year, this was my first. Needless to say, the nerves were present. We had great support from the Sense Holidays and Short Breaks team and a good understanding of the volunteers and holidaymakers we had on the holiday. But spending a week away with people you don’t know is nerve-wracking for anyone.

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We’re all going on a Summer Holiday!

Jai and Jack are stood smiling at the camera with a Maze in the background.

There’s nothing quite like the great British countryside. Fresh air, green grass and generous quantities of tea make the UK holiday experience something quite special. It is more than flip flops, food and factor 50. It’s a time to take a breather and focus on our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. What makes Jack special was his decision to use his holiday to focus on the wellbeing of others; and he wouldn’t trade the experience for all the tea in Yorkshire.

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Volunteering on a Sense holiday is a really rewarding experience

A smiling man with his arm around a young man at a picnic table outside a farm

After an accident left me with some mobility issues, I felt a strong desire to support people with disabilities. Since then I have worked and volunteered with adults and young people with physical and learning disabilities. Volunteering on a Sense Holiday was an incredible experience.

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I made new friends when I volunteered on a Sense Holiday

Jack and Jai 4

Volunteering on a Sense Holiday is an unforgettable experience. Not only did I make friends with Jai, an amazing kid I supported to have a brilliant holiday, but I also became friends with like-minded volunteers like Jonny, who was also there to support disabled children with complex communication needs.

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A love of music connected Michael and volunteer James on a Sense Holiday

Whilst I was studying for my A-Levels, I decided to gain some extra experience volunteering on a Sense Holiday. It seemed like a great way to achieve my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. But I never imagined I’d come away with the experience, memories and bond I developed with Michael, the young man I supported. Looking back, it was through a mutual love of music that enabled me and Michael to connect and communicate.

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I came away with far more than just BSL experience when I volunteered on a Sense Holiday

Two smiling women standing in a garden communicate with hand on hand signing

As a university student studying British Sign Language (BSL) interpreting, a Sense Holiday seemed like the perfect way to get some practical experience. But when I met Raji, I came away with so much more.

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As a volunteer, I helped Zead have an unforgettable holiday

A smiling man holding hands with a boy on a trampoline

Volunteering on a Sense Holiday with Zead was such a great memory. Zead is an enthusiastic 15 year old who loves spending time with other young people. He enjoys trips to the beach and zoo, and he’s always keen to try new things.

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Children with autism went to the ball with accessible Cinderella show

Two smiling young girls sit on a chair by a fire for a performance of Cinderella.

This week we took four young people with autism and sensory impairments to the Birmingham Hippodrome for the ‘relaxed performance’ of Cinderella, and what a night it was!

The trip was organised by Sense’s Get Out There Group in Warwickshire, which takes young people aged 0-18 years old into the community with the aim of boosting confidence and social skills, as well as reducing isolation and giving parents and carers respite.

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Why I’ve volunteered for Sense for 25 years

Woman supporting a young girl in a pink tube down a slopeI first started volunteering for Sense almost 25 years ago. I was a key-worker for a blind woman with communication difficulties who often asked to go on a Sense Holiday. In the days before the internet it took me a while to eventually discover what she was referring to! But finally I went along with her.

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