Let me tell you about Sam’s Place – a project to support the most fragile and vulnerable children in our community, and their families who care for them. When a child is life threatened or limited, it is not only the individual that is affected but also there is great impact on parents and siblings. The whole family unit takes on a care role and this responsibility is usually very demanding and intense on a 24-hour basis, not only for parents but also for the young brothers and sisters. The child’s illness therefore has a wider secondary impact and causes stress and pressure across the entire family. The focus on the ill child means that this wider family suffering is often unnoticed and unsupported.
Everyone should be able to relax on holiday
In modern life there are many stresses that are often relieved by a family taking ‘well-earned’ respite in the form of a family holiday. In addition to breaking away from daily routine the family is presented with the opportunity of having ’quality’ time together usually in pleasant surroundings. The therapeutic effect of such a break is that the family returns home refreshed to continue positively with their lives and regular routine.
This form of respite is specially needed by the family with a life threatened or limited child. Often the only temporary release for the carers in the family is for them to take a few days break away from a demanding supportive regime leaving the child behind which is not what they would choose to do. In order to do this they have the difficulty of arranging alternative care provision while they are away. Even if this can be achieved (Children’s Hospices are very good at arranging this type of care) the family still cannot enjoy the privilege of going on holiday and respite breaks together as a unit.
We can provide the necessary requirements for your family
In many cases the problem of the family being unable to go away together is not one of a lack of family finance, but arises from the lack of specialised facilities in usual holiday destinations. Although today many locations offer facilities for the disabled, none can offer realistic arrangements for the family with a life threatened or limited child.
We can help families to relax and enjoy their holiday
Additionally if the family with such a child is planning a break, the logistics involved can be onerous and easily negate any beneficial effects that the respite might bring. Along with the ‘usual’ holiday packing for all the family, the parents will need to ensure that they have organised to take along sufficient medication, specialised supplies and the multiple items of equipment needed to support and care for their child (See Sam’s List on our website). They have the additional worry of leaving the security of their normal support systems.
Sam’s Place will seek to negate all of those issues that make holidays and respite for these families impossible and so make them an enjoyable reality. We are grateful for the support of Ribby Hall Village in developing this concept.