We approach Christmas with some great news – The Big Lottery is funding a 5-year programme to help Magdalen Farm offer day and overnight breaks for families with children or young people with a disability or additional need.
This new funding will help Magdalen offer much needed respite for families who need a break where they can just be themselves and enjoy relaxed time with other families. Read on to find out about what we’ll be offering.
About 6 years ago, we were approached by The Carers Centre in Bath to run a weekend for families with a child or young person with a disability or additional need. It was something new for us and we were happy to help. Back then, we only worked with schools and a handful of charities who would bring a minibus full of children to us. Having the parents on site, staying overnight, carrying out family life, was an entirely new concept.
It was a brilliant experience for us, and for those of us, like me, who do not have a child with a disability, it was an insight into a way of life for so many people, of which we were completely ignorant. Mothers and fathers put their children to bed and sat nearby in the courtyard, in the warmth of a summer evening, chatting, socialising, sharing a bottle of wine. Many said that was the most powerful part of the weekend.
As we listened, we realised just how much some families needed a break where they could be accepted for who they are - just as any family would want. We heard from one father about how his family could not go to the park, to the beach, on holiday or to the supermarket, because his son’s behaviour is so far removed from what wider society expects, everyone gets upset and he ends up in fights.
After that eye-opener, with the help of Somerset Short Breaks, we swiftly got involved in one-day visits for the whole family and then families said they wanted to visit for longer. We needed funding to make it work. Step-up the National Lottery … in 2016 we ran our first set of weekend sleepovers and accompanying day-visits, for free.
Sleepovers on Magdalen Farm went into overdrive. Thanks to parents and the wider community, we then won more money from the Big Lottery Fund for free monthly family sleepovers. We were delighted! Then the funding came to an end, and the sleepovers came to an end too.
We needed to fundraise again. Luckily, the people at the Big Lottery Fund are pretty wonderful, so we have a new arrangement in place which will last for the next 5 years. This time, at the end of the funding we will keep the service going through contributions from the families.
You can come to the farm for 2 day visits and 2 sleepovers a year and we will ask you to pay:
10% of the cost in 2019
20% of the cost in 2020
30% of the cost in 2021
40% of the cost in 2022
50% of the cost ever after.
Even after our Lottery money ends, if families pay half the costs of a day visit, and of a sleepover, we can raise the other half from charitable trusts. This way, we don’t expect our offer to families with children and young people with a disability or additional need to end. Ever.
In 2019 the cost will be:
£3 per person for a one-day visit, including all activities, lunch and refreshments.
£7.50 per person per night for an overnight stay, including all activities, meals and refreshments.
We can even offer help towards the cost of your stays, subject to appropriate eligibility checks
These are exciting times for our services to families, and with a charge being made, we can make sure we keep doing this forever.
Chief Executive, Magdalen.Back