Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Latitude Family Holiday

Where do I start!

Latitude was a long held dream of mine - to pamper families who have children with complex medical/additional needs, because in general, the world and the church don’t do this very well.

The journey has been long and difficult to get there, but we did - and it was great!

Having been fully booked within weeks of our first publicity going out, suddenly our numbers dropped. This was due to many reasons - the most common being the child with the additional needs being too ill to come. We also had team dropping out (All for good reasons) and then our cook found out she had to have a minor op that weekend.

We took advice, asked people to pray, got more information out there through as many friends and organisations as we could….. And we waited.

I’m not one given to ‘words and pictures’ but many were given to me over this time of uncertainty. All tested, and all correct in their interpretation. All pointed to going ahead, even if we only had one family.

By a week before - we had two wonderful families, and I can honestly say they were exactly the right two families to test drive this new venture! (I know they will read this, so I will say again - “you were the right families - and we loved having you there!”)

One family had been booked right from the beginning, the other came in at the last minute, but because of the way we had everything planned, we could adapt to who ever came through the doors on the Friday evening.

By the Sunday before we started, we had been blessed by an amazing cook, and another amazing lady who ably assisted her in the kitchen

We were blessed by other organisations - Ben Pugh from Impeyan (www.impeyan.net) helped us a lot. When we thought we couldn’t afford them to come, he rang and worked through with us what we needed. He adapted his ‘show’ to the needs of the children - and it was fantastic! (Those of you who follow me on twitter or face book will have seen some of the photos!) He spent much longer with us than he could have, treated the children with care a respect and understanding. He spoilt the parents and leaders too with an amazing show. I can’t recommend them highly enough!

Equine partners also brought one of their horses up - Smoke was a lovely gentle horse who loved to pose for the camera (Yes - really!) The children had the option to ride or not, one said yes and one said no, but one of the mums took the opportunity to have a go too.

After the horse riding came the magnificent cream tea! I think we’re all still full from that!

On Sunday morning we had a walk/roll along the seafront - ‘bracing’ but fun! In the afternoon the adults had their own ‘service’ with the sermon given by Jeff Lucas via DVD (A spring Harvest Celebration talk), whilst the children had their own meeting in the sensory room.

Steve Hiscox, a member of Children Worldwide who is an osteopath also came - with the purpose of pampering families and children with his gifts.

Made by Martyn
Mobile Being Made by Donna 
The rest of the weekend had various things for family and children. We kitted out one of the bedrooms as a sensory room, had posh craft for the mums and sensory craft for the children, plasticine for all the grownups (quite a hit as you will see from the pictures). I even got to teach some crochet and knitting skills….. I love knitting and crocheting! We also had some ‘blokey’ things we could do if needed (We listened to local air traffic via a scanner and watched the space lab pass overhead!)

We ate lots, drank much tea and coffee, talked over the biggest range of things I have ever heard discussed and I hope encouraged one another in the process.

The team were fantastic - it was a team that had never worked together before, and we had three team who had never been to Dalesdown before and either only knew one other member of the team or no one at all. I have never known a team gel so quickly! We worked well together and have left this weekend with the gift of new friends - not only from the team, but the families too.

Anne Roche - another member of Children Worldwide, led family devotions on the first morning. She played the Steven Curtis Chapman song “Fingerprints of God” as part of that. As we looked at the children and their families (And the team of course) you could see those fingerprints very clearly! I feel that set the scene for the rest of the weekend - you could see Gods fingerprints over the whole of this event. It was blessed.

Are we going to do it again? Well…… yes! We need to confirm the date, but we think it will be just a couple of weeks later than this year’s - still only a weekend, but who knows, we may end up doing more than one weekend.

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