Caudwell Children, the Staffordshire based national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, is launching an urgent appeal to fill the final volunteer places ahead of their annual Destination Dreams holiday to Florida.

Caudwell Children organise the holiday to give 25 children with life threatening illnesses the opportunity to experience a ‘Dream’ holiday.

But with only weeks to go before the families jet off to Disney World, the charity has been disappointed to learn that several of those registered to volunteer on the holiday have had to drop out. As Kevin Lowe, Volunteer Manager for Caudwell Children, explained: “Through no fault of their own some of our most passionate volunteers are going to miss the trip. Career changes, work commitments, college studies and family commitments has resulted in a number of late places becoming available.”

Volunteers at SeaWorld during the 2013 Destination Dreams programme.
Volunteers at SeaWorld during the 2013 Destination Dreams programme.

The charity made the decision to provide the fully supported ‘Destination Dreams’ family holiday seven years ago. Since then they’ve created magical memories for hundreds of children from across the UK.

Kevin claims that the trip is life changing for both families and volunteers alike: “The holiday is the perfect environment in which families can enjoy quality time together, experiencing for perhaps the first time, a level of normality in their lives. However, it’s also an amazing opportunity for those who volunteer.

“Many say it’s the best experience of their lives. By providing families with an extra pair of hands volunteers give them the support that they need to allow them to thrive and be very happy. It’s often the simple things that make the difference; carrying bags, pushing wheelchairs or just nipping out for provisions.”

The charity is urgently appealing for volunteers from 18-years-of-age upwards, and who are physically fit, to come forward and make the Florida trip a reality for the children. And whilst they say that it would be great to hear from individuals with some experience of working with children, it doesn’t preclude those without.

Volunteers need to have a full, valid, passport and need to be available to travel from 30th November-10th December 2014. Volunteers will spend 10 nights away from home.

Whilst latecomers on the trip will undergo the same, rigorous, interview and reference procedure as the other volunteers, Kevin says that the charity will be flexible with the £1,200 fundraising target, which would normally be required, towards the cost of the holiday.

Jess Summers, a volunteer on Destination Dreams in 2013, is urging prospective volunteers to come forward. She said: “I found the whole experience extremely rewarding. You have to remember that the families on Destination Dreams are used to being in and out of hospital, and have little time to live like a normal family. So I was really grateful that I was given the opportunity to make the holiday the best ever experience that the families had ever had.”

For further information and an application pack please contact the Kevin Lowe on 01782 600424 or email: kevin.lowe@caudwellchldren.com

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