A residential holiday scheme for disabled children celebrated its sixth year

Posted: 17th August 2023

First hosted in 2018 Highfield Highreach Holidays, a week-long respite break, has gone from strength to strength with 23 children attending this year’s holiday.

Highreach is hosted at Highfield and Brookham School in Liphook and is focused on supporting families from the local area. This August families joined from across Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire as it is one of the very few affordable residential respite holidays in the surrounding areas.

Year-on-year half of the cost of the residential holiday is covered by fundraising from the Highfield and Brookham school community to accommodate families who cannot afford the high price of many commercial respite care schemes.

Asking for volunteers is another crucial way of keeping running costs down. This year there were 58 volunteers who made the respite holiday possible.

The volunteers, 41 of who were returning volunteers, found the experience rewarding and a genuinely lifechanging opportunity. This year 30 of the volunteers were former pupils of Highfield and Brookham. They have had the privilege of an independent education and it is their way of giving back. In addition, there were eight members of staff from Highfield and Brookham including owner and chairman, Bill Mills.

Of the 58 volunteers 13 of them have volunteered for all six holidays.

During last year’s holiday the children and volunteers were joined by Ofsted. Highreach received the top accolade of ‘outstanding’ in every category.

According to Ofsted, “the actions of the residential holiday scheme contribute to significantly improved outcomes and positive experiences for children and young people.”

Highreach only runs for one week once a year, but this short amount of time has a huge impact on the children attending. Children have access to a multitude of amenities, everything from an indoor swimming pool and performance theatre to outdoor woodlands and a full-sized competition Astro. Each of these resources are used with an inclusive outlook. So, for those holiday makers who have sensory needs there is plentiful staff who can supervise them during quieter times so they can still gain the most out of the week.

Proud Highfield and Brookham Head, Suzannah Cryer said, “Challenging perceptions is the ongoing vision that underpins Highreach, from the abilities of the children on the respite scheme to the young volunteers that make it all possible. Too often in society people are defined and restricted by their abilities and disabilities; preconceptions about what they should and shouldn’t do. This week proves that nothing can hold these amazing young people back.”

Categories: Highfield and Brookham Schools