Hardship to happiness
Kerry and Philip have three boys, each of whom has additional support needs. The youngest, Nathan, now four, was born with a hereditary heart condition. Ten-year-old Tyler struggles with ADHD, which is affecting his schoolwork considerably. And Dylan, six, is often getting into fights with local children who tease him for wearing hand-me-downs to school.
For Kerry, every day is taken up by appointments – one minute she’s at the doctor’s surgery; the next, she’s being called into school, or to meetings with the family’s support worker. It’s no wonder she has neither the time or energy to do much else. Philip, meanwhile, was recently made redundant and is doing all he can to find new work.
Things got so bad for the family that they were forced to leave their home and seek refuge in a homeless shelter. They stayed there for 10 weeks before finally being offered new accommodation by the local council.
Support worker Denise got in touch with the Family Holiday Association to request a much-needed break for the family. So we arranged for them to spend a few nights in our caravan at the Craig Tara holiday park in Ayrshire, which is not too far from where they live. This was an important consideration because Nathan needed to stay close to their local health services in case of any sudden problems.
Kerry told us about their experience: “We had a picnic on the beach and the sun shone all day! We built sandcastles and dug very deep holes, and it was fantastic to see the boys laugh and smile so much.
“I now feel more confident in tackling longer journeys with all three boys out together at the same time,” she continued. “We are now planning day trips and outings for next summer.
“We cannot thank the charity enough. We had the most fantastic time together as a family and the boys got to do things they hadn’t experienced before. We were able to spend time together without the pressures of everyday life creeping in.”
Denise added: “The family as a whole seem calmer and able to communicate together. Mum has spoken openly to me about her fears and worries since returning, which she was never able to do previously.”