Past President Neil writes:
From the 31st July to the 2nd August a small group of club members travelled with seventeen young carers (Aged 12 – 15) and four members of staff from Centre 33 to Dial House, a large National Trust house at Brancaster Staithe in North Norfolk, for a respite break.
Centre 33 handles young carer support for Cambridgeshire County Council, and were very excited when we offered to fund this trip, as it isn’t something that they can do within their budget.
Short breaks like this can often be the only respite that these young people get in a year; and life at home can often be quite a strain on them.
Dial House was originally run as an outward-bound centre by the National Trust; but when Covid struck the staff were made redundant and all the equipment sold. However, the house remains and is let out for use by schools during term time. The Holt Rotary Club approached the National Trust to see if they could take a block booking of a couple of weeks, then split that up amongst interested clubs. The Trust agreed to that request, and Rotary Cambridge were the first club to make a booking under that scheme.
Transport was arranged by Centre 33, and on the first day the group headed straight to a high ropes course near Holkham, which had been arranged free-of-charge by Holt Rotary. That gave our club members (My partner Marie & I, Gill with her dog Millie, and Suzie & Bob) the chance to get all the food unpacked, and generally get set up ready for the onslaught!
Our job was to cater for the group whilst the C33 staff spent time with the kids – giving the chance for some valuable one-to-one time.
The C33 staff told us that on the journey up you could have heard a pin drop in the minibus; but by the time the group had done the high ropes course and travelled back to Dial House, new friendships were already being made and the chatter was deafening!
On the Tuesday the group spent the day on the beach, and for tea we treated them to fish & chips from the local shop.
Evenings were spent playing games, doing craft projects and singing karaoke.
Wednesday morning soon came round, and the group headed to Hunstanton for the day, before making their way back to Cambridge.
Before leaving we said our goodbyes, and the group presented us with a thank you card, signed by them all with some lovely messages.
We tidied up and had a debrief with John from Holt Rotary before heading back, too.
A few days later we received a formal thank you letter from Centre 33, who were full of praise for our small team, and for the support of the club in funding the trip.
Here’s a selection of some of the comments:
Wow! You guys are amazing. My daughter had such an amazing time. She said she felt like she was spoilt rotten and really enjoyed hanging out with such nice people that understood. Thank you again. Centre 33 has really been the making of her, we can’t thank you enough – parent
It was AMAZING! I made lots of new friends and at one point I went on a walk to on the beach barefoot for over an hour! I also went to an arcade for the first time and loved it! We got goody boxes at the beginning, full of sweets! I loved the dog; she was called Millie and was VERY licky! – young person
I loved the high ropes. I can’t do anything like that with my family – young person
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