Home Respite Breaks National Charity Revitalise Celebrates 60 Years of Respite Care

National Charity Revitalise Celebrates 60 Years of Respite Care

by Lisa Carr

Revitalise, thenational charity which provides respite care in a holiday setting for disabled people and their carers, celebrated 60 years of service yesterday with a gala event at Meols Hall, Southport. 

Guests, volunteers, carers and supporters of the vital work carried out by Revitalise mingled at the event which is one of a number planned over the next few months to celebrate the charity’s 60th anniversary. 

Revitalise provides more than 2,500 breaks each year for disabled people and carers in its two purpose-built holiday centres. This includes the Sandpipers holiday centre which is based in the heart of Southport.

This special reception event celebrated the positive impact the charity has made during the last 60 years. The event was also an opportunity to highlight the challenges disabled people and carers continue to face when trying to access respite breaks and introduce the charity’s Give me a break appeal that will help the charity increase the number of people who can access an urgently needed respite break. Further events to mark this milestone year and support the appeal are planned throughout the year. This includes a Summer Fete at Sandpipers and a diamond themed gala dinner at The Grand hotel, Southport in November.

The charity began 60 years ago as the Winged Fellowship Trust (WFT) in 1963, thanks to the vision and tenacity of Founding Trustee, Joan Brander MBE. The catalyst for the foundation of the WFT was the realisation that disabled people and their families had very little access to even the briefest respite. Joan and her pioneering contemporaries realised that these families were in desperate need of support and set about to provide it.

The Trust became Vitalise in 2004 to reflect its status as a modern, dynamic and visionary charity and in 2014 became Revitalise, a name which best describes the charity’s core purpose. 

In the last 20 years alone, over 200,000 guests have experienced the joy of a break thanks to Revitalise’s efforts, supported by its 50,000 volunteers who provide companionship and assistance. 

By staying true to Joan’s vision, Revitalise continues with a person-first approach to disability. Its vision is to create a society in which every disabled person and carer is able to take the break or holiday they want, believing that disabled people should have the same rights, freedom, responsibilities and quality of life as those without disabilities.

Joan’s original passion, energy and determination is still evident in Revitalise’s work today, and has helped the charity grow in size, influence and stature. 

Revitalise breaks are for 3-7 days or more and guests can travel solo, with a loved one, a carer or with a larger group of friends or family, providing a much-needed break from routine for all. 

Expert care support is provided at each of the centres, with trained nurses onsite. All facilities are fully accessible with specialised equipment available on request, including hoists, profiling beds, airflow mattresses and bariatric beds. Accommodation is wheelchair-friendly with buzzer systems throughout all facilities.

In keeping with a traditional British holiday experience, the centres both have a full live evening entertainment package throughout the season, which includes singers, comedians, tribute acts, casino and cinema nights. Daytime activities include games such as boccia, arts and crafts sessions, exercise classes, quizzes, bingo and hair and beauty treatments at additional cost.

Revitalise is marking its 60th year with a renewed determination to build on its heritage, respond to today’s challenges and meet the needs of disabled people in the future. In particular, the refurbishment of all bedrooms at Jubilee Lodge in Chigwell started in 2021 will be completed this year. Work is also set to start on the expansion and refurbishment of its much-loved holiday centre in the heart of Southport, Sandpipers.

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