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The Revitalise effect – sharing stories

revitalise 2For over 50 years the charity Revitalise has been making a real, tangible difference to the lives of thousands of disabled people and carers each year.

Revitalise is the largest provider of respite holidays for disabled people and carers in the UK, welcoming people who need the reassurance of 24 hour on-call nurse-led care in order to have a respite holiday. Underpinning all Revitalise does is one simple, immutable belief – everybody needs a break.

No other UK provider does what Revitalise does. By combining expert care and the support of volunteers with imaginative excursions and activities in a relaxed environment, The charity gives its guests something truly unique – a break that feels like a proper holiday.

Revitalise’s guests often recount what makes their time at the charity’s centres so special. It is not just the care or the chance to get out and about, but what happens between people while they are there. Relationships come alive. Those who come to Revitalise are no longer ‘cared for’ and ‘carer’ but wife and husband, volunteer and guest – one human being and another.

Time away is an essential part of being well, of having healthy relationships. Too long without a break can put all this in crisis. By giving its guests proper holidays, Revitalise also enables 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.

As little as half a century ago, the modern concept of respite care was virtually unheard of. Carers of disabled family members were given little support and even less prospect of relief, often at a terrible cost to their own health.

Revitalise was a pioneer of the modern concept of respite and its irrefutable value in enabling family carers to carry on. From those small beginnings, the charity today provides around 5,000 breaks each year across its three accessible centres in Chigwell, Southampton and Southport, with 70% of its guests returning year after year.

Nobody speaks with more eloquence about the value of good quality respite than those who benefit directly from it. This is what Revitalise guest Steve White had to say:

“I’ve been with Karen for 35 years. My condition got worse six years ago and my short-term memory has been affected. It’s been hard for her. I miss feeling useful. I miss having people around me. I’m a very positive person, but I get very lonely when Karen’s out at work.

Revitalise gives me a great sense of life. I get to see so many things and I love meeting people. We’re together like a family. Karen can catch up with things and go places with our daughter Natalie while I’m away. I love that they can do what they want to do. When I come back I feel much more alive.”

Revitalise is now aiming to double its social impact by opening three new centres around the UK, such that every disabled person and carer in the UK is no more than two hours’ travel from a Revitalise centre.

For more information about Revitalise breaks, call 0303 303 0145 or visit www.revitalise.org.uk

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lisa

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