Stories from our holidaymakers

Read what our families have to say about our short breaks.

Video - holiday highlights
Tyrese and Vicky Dibba's story
Matthew Cockerill and Amanda Lippett's story

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Tyrese and Vicky Dibba’s story

Tyrese and two volunteers go-karting and waving to cameraVicky Dibba lives in Birmingham with her nine-year-old son Tyrese. Not unlike other boys his age, Tyrese loves football, playing cars and watching films. Tyrese was born with a rare genetic condition called CHARGE, and as a result he is profoundly deaf and has vision in one eye. He attends a local special needs school in Birmingham and uses British Sign Language and hand-under-hand signing to communicate.

When talking to a support worker Tyrese’s mum Vicky heard about short breaks, an opportunity for children and young people with sensory impairments to get away from it all, enjoy new experiences and meet new people while giving the families and carers respite from caring.

Following a conversation with their support worker from Sense, Tyrese was booked on a four-night trip to Macaroni Woods during October half-term 2014. Set in the Cotswolds, Macaroni Woods is a safe and secure woodland environment it includes a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities for the children, as well as an onsite sensory room.

Commenting on the facilities, Vicky said:

“Tyrese loved Macaroni Woods, there was lots of space, which he needs, and he loved interacting with the animals.”

The holiday was led by two experienced leaders who have a firm understanding of how to run holidays for people with multi-sensory impairment, complex communication, and a range of learning disabilities.

Tyrese also received one-to-one support at all times from an experienced volunteer, which enabled him to participate in a range of social and physical activities. Vicky said:

“The staff support was great; there was a deaf support worker who used British Sign Language so Tyrese was very happy to sit and chat away to them.”

The short break also allowed Vicky to have some well-earned rest, she said:

“Me and my parents took a short break of our own to Northampton. I haven’t been away without Tyrese since he was born so I took the opportunity to explore part of the UK I have never been to before, and somewhere Tyrese would probably not enjoy so much.

“I would definitely recommend short breaks, it gave Tyrese the opportunity to be part of a group and make new friends. The experience for both Tyrese and myself was fantastic.”

Matthew Cockerill and Amanda Lippett’s story

Matthew LippettAmanda Lippitt from Birmingham is mum to 13-year-old Matthew Cockerill. Matthew has Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), learning disabilities and additional medical needs. He attends a local special school. 

Due to the combined complex nature of his ASD and medical needs Matthew receives limited respite. Amanda was therefore surprised and delighted that Sense was able to accommodate Matthews’s medical needs during a short holiday break.

Sense offers short breaks to children and young people with sensory impairments, it’s an  opportunity to get away from it all, enjoy new experiences and meet new people while giving the families and carers respite from caring.

Matthew was booked on a four-night trip to Macaroni Woods during October half-term 2014. Set in the Cotswolds, Macaroni Woods is a safe and secure woodland environment and it includes a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities for the children, as well as an onsite sensory room.

Amanda said:

“I didn’t know about short breaks and was contacted by the family support worker for social services. Matthew had never been on a short break before so there was some anxiety especially as he is non-verbal. However, the staff were absolutely unbelievable and showed huge attention to detail, they made me as a parent feel very comfortable.

“When Matthew came back from the holiday, you could tell he was flat as he’d had such a good time. I hope he will have that opportunity again although I realise other children deserve that chance too and he was lucky to go on the break.”

The short break also allowed Amanda to have some well earned rest, she said:

"My daughter Hannah and I were able to spend some quality time together as well as me having a break so it had a massive impact and made all the difference."

"I want to highly commend the staff for getting to know Matthew so well and for being so dedicated to give the kids the best holiday ever. I can’t speak highly enough of them.”

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First published: Friday 13 March 2015
Updated: Tuesday 22 December 2015