At Revitalise our mission is to help create a more inclusive society which supports disabled people and carers with equal opportunities, proper care and the chance to go on fun respite breaks and holidays!
We love what we do and it’s never more apparent how important our breaks are than when we hear directly from our guests. After all, they say it much better than we ever could!
Last week some of the Head Office Team visited our Sandpipers centre. As well as getting involved in lots of activities and putting on a little acoustic sing-along, we spent plenty of time chatting to guests, learning about their lives and hearing what a Revitalise break means to them.
So without further ado, here’s Toni’s story…
Can you tell me about your disability?
“I have autism and diabetes and was deaf as a child. I’ve overcome things, I’ve just had to.”
Can you tell me a bit about your family and where you’re from?
“I was born in Harrogate and my Mum raised me, Karen, and Dawn [sisters] single-handily in Sheffield.”
“Mum wanted to find me a home for the future, and ever since then I’ve lived there. Though my Mum’s not around by now, she’s done it for my future, she wanted my security and things.”
What about work?
“I worked for the council for 38 years. I started on a work experience by the social people from Sheffield council, they gave people with disabilities jobs to do. I was doing clerical work and work experience and that’s how I got the job. Someone there said, ‘look with special needs and disabilities you can do this’.”
“But now that I’ve retired, I have a more leisurely life, it’s a new chapter and it’s what my Mum wanted.”
Have you been on many holidays?
“I used to go on holiday with my Mum, but as she got older and frailer, I couldn’t go on holiday with her anymore. My Dawn and Karen [sisters] were having their own lives, so I thought ‘what’s the answer?’. And Sandpipers is the answer I have discovered.”
How did you first hear about Sandpipers and Revitalise?
“I saw it in a brochure, and it solved all my holidays in one.”
You now come to Revitalise a few times a year?
“Yes. It is the most brilliant, brilliant centre I have ever come to – my confidence has grown a lot.”
“I have recently retired and one of these days I’m going to celebrate my 60th here and that’s going to be a dream come true. I came and I stayed for four weeks and it was one of the best Christmases I’ve ever had.”
“This has become my second family.”
What would you say to anyone who is new to Revitalise?
“Don’t hesitate, just come. Just come because you know when you come here you get a break from everything.”
“I wish more and more people like myself, with low autism and diabetes, could benefit from this and I’m 95% sure they will. Because they are missing something and it [Revitalise] will change your life forever, it will!”
Anything else you would like to add?
“The meals are good, they care for diabetics and everything. And the activities are great, they [Revitalise] are the best people in the world.”
“I wish more and more people would come here, because your life will improve, your mental health struggles will go.”
If you would like to help support more people like Toni with respite breaks, please donate to our Respite Recovery fund. We want to help more disabled people and carers get the break they deserve, especially after an incredibly tough year in lockdown.