Relationships beyond respite
When Joan Brander founded Revitalise over 50 years ago in 1963, she and her fellow volunteers revolutionised the quality and accessibility of respite care for disabled people and carers.
They were driven by one simple belief – everybody needs a break. Today, driven by that same belief, Revitalise provides 5,000 breaks each year at three holiday centres.
Revitalise sustains and enriches the lives and relationships of thousands of disabled people and the loved ones who care for them each year. Nearly 5,000 guest breaks and 3,500 volunteering opportunities mark us out as the only provider of such a service at scale. But we are only scratching the surface.
A magical place for disabled people
Our goal is to provide a break that feels like a real holiday, offering great hospitality with 24-hour, nurse-led care for people living with a wide range of conditions including MS, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s and dementia.
Our centres are open 51 weeks of the year, including Christmas and New Year, and they are full year round.
Our guests tell us that what makes their time with us so special is not just the care or the chance to get out and about, but what happens between people while they are with us. Relationships come alive, and those who come to us are no longer ‘cared for’ and ‘carer’, but wife and husband, volunteer and guest, old and new friend – one human being and another.
“When I come back from holidays at Jubilee Lodge I feel so refreshed and determined to do other things.”
We support those who care
At Revitalise, carers can join the person they care for or take their own break, free from guilt or worry, secure in the knowledge that their loved ones are safe and having a really good time. This combination has proved critical to carers who often struggle with guilt — one in three of the UK’s 6.8 million carers never takes even a single day off from their caring role.
By giving our guests proper holidays, we also enable their carers to take a proper break too – a break from the daily routine of giving care, from the label of ‘carer’, from the feelings of guilt at handing over the care of their loved one to others.
“The nice thing about coming to Revitalise is that Barry gets a break and I get a break too. Alternative respite options don’t give Barry the chance to get out and about and see new places like he does at Revitalise, just because it is respite doesn’t mean it can’t be fun too.” – Sally, carer to husband Barry
Our army of volunteers
We are blessed with an army of volunteers and operate the largest residential volunteering programme in the country. Revitalise’s nearly 2,000 volunteers come from all backgrounds and range in age from their teens right up to their 90s, with most aged 18-25.
Each year volunteers donate over 3,500 weeks of their time, and working with them we are able not just to keep our guests safe, but to take them where they want to go. Our guests choose day trips to the Isle of Wight and to France, ice skating and indoor skydiving, visits to historic homes, and evenings out at shows or nightclubbing.
It is our volunteers’ dynamism and diversity that help to create such a lively, social atmosphere in our centres – they are truly our magic ingredient. When volunteers are with us, they grow as individuals and become more caring members of society.
“This is the most amazing experience I’ve had. The people here are wonderful and really become family while you live here! The training is excellent, you get constructive feedback and the people here really look out for you. I can’t wait to come back!”