Top tips for planning a residential break

A residential break can be a truly rewarding and inspiring experience for children with disabilities or special needs. At the Wingate Centre we offer inclusive residential short breaks to help special children push their boundaries, gain life skills and learn all about themselves away from home. We welcome groups from special schools, mainstream schools and charities to experience the holiday of a lifetime.

Organising a residential break can be a daunting task, so here are our top tips for planning a successful stay at The Wingate Centre.

  1. Set your objectives

Think about what you want to do or achieve during your stay. Would your group benefit from organised workshops, time in the gym or more outdoor-based activities? Would you prefer a relaxed or structured approach? Are days out on your agenda?

We have a range of indoor and outdoor activities available but some require pre-booking so you’ll need to let us know what you’d like to do in advance. We can offer gym taster sessions, creative craft workshops and participation in awards programmes such as the AQA Unit Awards that encourage independence and life skills. There are plenty of local attractions to visit in close proximity to the Centre, from ice-cream farms and animal adventures to museums and sporting venues. If you’re unsure what you’d like to achieve from your stay, give the team a call and we’ll help tailor a programme to meet your needs.

  1. Special needs and disabilities

It’s important for us to understand the age range and capabilities of your group so that we can place you in the right area of the building and plan age and ability appropriate activities. Our bedrooms and bathrooms are equipped with hoists, support rails, stair gates, low-level beds and toilet and shower chairs. A list of specialist equipment can be found here. By understanding the needs of every individual in your group, we can help make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

  1. Consider safety

Are any of your group likely to need additional monitoring or supervision? We have two rooms that form a secure suite, ideal for the close supervision of children in need of constant care. We can also provide additional supervision in outdoor areas should your group require it.

  1. Dietary requirements

All of our food is freshly prepared on site each day and our experienced and helpful catering team produce delicious meals that cater for all dietary requirements, from vegetarian to gluten/lactose free and halal. Blended and liquidised food is available on request at every mealtime. We’ll ask you for a list of dietary requirements when you book.

  1. Challenging behaviours

We understand there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to planning a residential short break. Every child is unique and we’ll work with you to make sure every child gets maximum benefit from their stay. Quieter periods are often more beneficial for children with challenging behaviours, so please contact us to discuss your group’s needs.

If you’ve not organised a residential break before, we hope these tips are useful.

Taster ‘away days’ are an ideal way to sample life at The Wingate Centre. They include a gym session, use of the play area and a picnic or buffet lunch. Please contact the team if you’d like to arrange a visit or have any questions arising from this blog – we’ll be delighted to assist!