Making Memories… Giving Hope

All Grown Up: Josie's Story

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In our recent magazine we spoke with Josie who came on a CHICKS breaks as a child, to find out about the memories she has of her break and the long-term impact the breaks had on her. This is Josie's story:

I attended a CHICKS break twice, once aged 13 and again aged 14, because I was a young carer for my mother who suffered with M.E. My mum could hardly walk and every day was a challenge as she had many severe symptoms.

As a child carer I had lots of daily duties including cleaning laundry; helping with the shopping; helping my mum to walk around the house; lifting my mum from the bath; reminding my mum to take medication and being there for emotional support.

I remember the day when I was invited to attend a CHICKS break in Devon. Initially, I didn’t know what to think as I had not been on many holidays, but as soon as I knew that there were lots of fun, outdoor activities across the week, I felt more excited and knew this opportunity was invaluable.

One of my fondest memories I have is of all of us dressing up for Halloween, looking really scary in our handmade costumes before going on the rides at Crealy Adventure Park. It was so much fun with the new friends I made on break – in fact, we’re still friends today!

Coming on two CHICKS respite breaks has made a huge difference to my life because as a child I was able to develop vital social skills, cognitive skills, physical skills and the ability to learn new things in a safe, happy environment surrounded by inspiring adults. My self-confidence also developed and meant that once I was back home I had the confidence to join a netball team outside school.

The impact that CHICKS has had on me as an adult is invaluable. CHICKS gave me so much confidence within my career choice and socially. I have done many amazing things thanks to the confidence and self-belief that CHICKS gave me; I jumped out of a plane for charity; I’ve been a youth worker working with teenagers and at present I work at Ty Hafan, Children’s Hospice for Wales, which is so rewarding.

There seems to be a link here and I feel that CHICKS has led me to Ty Hafan in some special way. As an adult, I still volunteer with CHICKS because I want to give back to others what CHICKS gave me - positive, life-changing memories that will live on forever in my heart. I also believe that without CHICKS my mental health wouldn’t have been so strong, because CHICKS gave me laughter and so much fun, I sometimes think that if I never had those opportunities I wouldn’t be where I am today.

To anyone going on a CHICKS break I would say: expect to have fun, to be happy and to make lots of wonderful memories with new lifelong friends.

If you’re feeling inspired to support CHICKS and our respite breaks – by volunteering at one of our breaks, by holding a fundraising event or by taking part in one of our events – please take a look at our Get Involved page!

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