Fulfil the Wish is a registered charity which was founded in 2000 to provide activity and sightseeing holidays for children and young people who have lifelong and life-limiting disabilities.
Our activities are designed with the whole family in mind and they allow people to meet others in similar situations to themselves. One parent who has partaken in activities with us commented: “Fulfil the Wish isn’t just a charity; it is a community and a lifeline to achieving things that are not usually achievable in everyday life…(it) is almost like our extended family.”. The majority of our clients go on to participate in further activities and holidays and form lasting friendships.
Our main holidays include an annual trip to Disneyland Paris, where the families who travel with us benefit from our years of experience in meticulous organisation and assistance to deliver a memorable holiday. Some of our clients had difficulties in organising their own holidays to Disneyland due to the costs and logistical problems involved. One client told us that she had been trying to organise a holiday with her two disabled sons and young daughter for three years before contacting Fulfil the Wish. We were able to cater for all the extra requirements that they needed to provide the family with their dream holiday.
The other major annual trip we run is to an outdoor activity centre in Cumbria which is purpose built for handicapped people and run by The Bendrigg Trust. These trips provide children and families with the opportunity to partake in activities that they would otherwise find difficult, or impossible. Following a recent visit, one parent said, “No way could my girls do that was my first thought… what my girls achieved in those few days was just astounding!” The trust’s activities, such as climbing walls, tube slides and zip wires gives the children the opportunity to experience big thrills whilst under the expert supervision of experienced instructors.
We also run a ‘Fun Club’, which offers clients more frequent activities and day trips, such as snow tubing at a local ski slope, where the disabled and able-bodied are able to share the fun with minimal assistance, visits to therapy farms, and swimming parties, including the exclusive use of special facilities such as the ‘Splashpark’ at Huddersfield Sports Centre. This allows the families we support to meet up more regularly and participate in activities which break down the barriers of disability.
We offer significant financial assistance by subsidising our holidays and activities in order to make them more accessible to more families. Our fundraising allows us to run the majority of our Fun Club activities at no cost to the participating families and to make a substantial contribution to the more expensive activities. By subsidising our activities and holidays in this manner, we make sure that not only is disability not a barrier to participation, neither are a family’s finances.
All of our trips and holidays offer opportunities for children and their families to enjoy a wide rangeof experiences which others may take for granted, but the social aspect of our activities is one of our great successes. We offer our clients an opportunity to make new friends and experience the company of people from right across the UK, often forming self-help groups and providing our families with an opportunity “to get together and to share ideas, empathise or even just let off steam”. This doesn’t just apply to parents either. Our activities allow disabled children and their siblings “to share exciting experiences, not only with their family/carers, but with other young people who have to live with disabilities”. Over the years, many of the children and families who have been on our holidays have kept in contact and remain good friends to this day, forming informal but invaluable support groups.
One parent summed up our work well – “The smiles of happiness told a story without the need for words”.