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!

Corporate Social Responsibility Opportunities at The Wingate Centre

Having a happy workforce, one which is motivated to work as a team, can directly result in increased profitability and success of the business.  Employee engagement can come from supporting a common cause.  Not only does this help to strengthen employee relationships and foster team work, it also shows how a company can benefit the whole community.

The Wingate Centre is reaching out to companies looking to engage in corporate social responsibility opportunities and looking to partner with businesses to help us provide holidays for those children whose profound disability means they never experience a holiday.

It costs over £300k every year to provide these residential breaks at The Wingate Centre. Like many charities, we receive no direct funding from the government and rely heavily on donations, volunteers and fundraising from our corporate sponsors.

We will rely on the generous support of corporate sponsors and have launched the Holiday 2017 Appeal to give more children the opportunity of having a holiday of a lifetime at The Wingate Centre.

As a charity we understand that it isn’t just the financial commitment we are seeking from each business.  By choosing us as your chosen charity and supporting the Holiday 2017 Appeal, we understand that together, we can mobilise your workforce and foster team spirit and have employees who have the ability to support their local children’s charity with little time investment from yourselves.

Three ways to support

  1. Corporate sponsorship
    You don’t need to be the size of a global corporation to support The Wingate Centre, although we wouldn’t say ‘No’ to you if you were! We’ve developed a range of sponsorship packages suitable for businesses of all sizes, which are all eligible for tax relief. If you’re a small business, for £400, you could help two children take a fully catered residential break at the Centre for one week. Larger companies may be able to financially support a holiday of a lifetime for a group of 25 children for £5,000
  2. Employee fundraising
    Set your team a challenge! Taking part in a fundraising event is a really fun way to show your support. Last year, employees from Bakkavor Bread ran the gruelling North West Tough Mudder challenge and raised £3330. This gave 16 very grateful children a fantastic holiday experience. You can be adventurous or creative with the challenge as you like – what’s important is that every penny you raise through sponsorship will support children with disabilities and complex care needs.
  3. Volunteering works too
    Of course, if fundraising is not an option for your business, there are still plenty of opportunities for you to support The Wingate Centre. In 2016 teams of volunteers from Bentley Motors and ATOS gave a new lease of life to our outdoor areas and transformed our flowerbeds.

With all our sponsorship opportunities, you’ll visibly see where your money is being used and witness the benefits it has on improving the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the children we support.

Benefits for your business
Taking on a sponsored challenge is a fantastic way to foster team spirit and to get to know one another in a non-work environment. You might choose to raise money with a physical challenge, improving your own health and wellbeing at the same time. Check out our Events page for lots of ideas. Other businesses prefer to spread their fundraising efforts out and hold a range of events such as charity balls, golf tournaments or quiz nights.

Whichever form of support you choose, sponsoring The Wingate Centre is a great opportunity to showcase your company values, generate valuable media coverage and give something back to the community.

Come and visit us!
Please take a look at all our corporate sponsorship opportunities to see if your business might be able to offer some support. If you’d like to come and see the facilities for yourself, the fundraising team will be only too happy to show you around and demonstrate exactly where your fundraising efforts could make a difference.

Together we can create memories for each and every young person that holidays with us and provide much needed respite for their families.