Children’s Respite Trust
by Lisa De Silva
Lisa de Silva spoke to Chief Executive Gavin Fisher about the Trust’s new day care centre opening this summer in Uckfield, and how thrilled they are to be able to offer additional and much-needed support to families caring for a disabled child.
While family life can be busy and frustrating at times, it’s hard to imagine the added pressures of caring for a disabled child. The Children’s Respite Trust was set up to support such households, “the respite we provide allows these families the chance to do things that we all take for granted,” explains Chief Executive and founder of the Trust, Gavin Fisher. “In most cases parents simply want the opportunity to spend time with their other children, or even just the simple pleasure of taking a long relaxing shower free of responsibilities.”
Gavin was first inspired to help families with disabled children at the opening of a sensory garden back in 2010. One parent explained that actually getting into the garden was difficult owing to demand and so he set about helping the family get the statutory help that was available, along with fundraising for a short break in a private respite centre for their disabled child. But as word spread of the positive impact this had on the family, more and more people began to ask for his help and the Children’s Respite Trust was born, receiving charitable status in 2011, when fundraising efforts started in earnest.
Today, the Trust helps families in three main ways. Firstly, by taking an advocacy role in helping people access any Government support and funding they are entitled to; secondly, by providing direct respite, with carers supporting the family at home and thirdly, by providing day-care facilities at their wonderful new respite centre in Uckfield. From this summer, the centre will welcome the first children for day- care sessions, where they will be able to enjoy soft-play, messy-play, arts and crafts, as well as a library and chill out area with sofas and TV.
“The centre will be a fantastic resource for these families, giving the children some time out and other family members the chance to go shopping or take their other children on an outing.” But to keep the centre up and running, Gavin is aware that the Trust will need to double their fundraising efforts. For anyone interested in helping this incredibly valuable charity, Gavin would love you to consider joining the Events Committee, or keeping the Trust in mind when you have the chance to raise money as an individual or group, by taking on a challenge, or organising a community or corporate event.
As one parent explained, the respite care offered by the Trust helps to make life that little bit easier, “it becomes about having fun, rather than coping.” l For further information the Children’s Respite Trust please visit www.crtcharity.org or call 01825 817417