April is a special time for autism awareness with world autism awareness day being April 2nd, everyone comes together promoting awareness and understanding in a positive way.
This was the fourth year that Blackpool tower have illuminated the tower blue in support of autism awareness and we were lucky enough to raise enough funds for four families living with autism to have a free weekend break at Haven`s Marton Mere Holiday Park in Blackpool. The holiday park isn’t in the centre of Blackpool but for families who were unable to travel or go into the centre on the Saturday night when the tower turned blue were able to see it from the park. Marton Mere is the perfect choice for a holiday set beside a local nature reserve, you can make the holiday as lively or as calm as you want. In all families living with autism no two families will live with the same difficulties, here at Marton Mere you can go on a quiet calm walk or jump in with all the activities/attractions.
The park has the following facilities:
Indoor heated pool
Teens and childrens clubs
Bar and restaurant
Traditional fish and chips
Space bowl flume
Football Academy (5-16s)
Mini archery, football and fencing (3-5s)
All-weather multi-sports court
Archery and fencing coaching (6+)
Convenience store and bakery
Aqua gliders (4-7s)
Pool kayaking (8+)
Turbo paddlers (4-8s)
Everyone outdoors (3+)
Nature walk/trail/reservePlay area
Our caravan break was funded by The Principle Trust Charity who have three caravans on the holiday park. They provide a complete `Hassle free` service providing the holidays completely free ensuring as many children and their families can benefit from the trust. The charity help and support families from a wide range from children with disabilities to children living in inadequate housing.
Our little boy MacKenzie was diagnosed with Autism 18 months ago before then his diagnosis was speech and language disorder, social communication difficulties and sensory issues since the age of 2 and a half. We knew for a long time that he did have autism it was obvious to us even though some days we pretended it wasn’t. Getting a diagnosis makes it final and brings everything to a head if you are a family that have waited for a while. Everything changes when your child has autism please take a moment to read this short poem Welcome to Holland.
Being away from home especially his home town is a really problem for MacKenzie at the moment but we are working with him and supporting him with it. Going on a caravan holiday has a big advantage for us because he can take more things from home with him to try and make him more comfortable. We tried to keep him busy and take his mind off home by long walks around the holiday park which is calm and safe with cars only able to travel 5mph. One day we took Mya and MacKenzie to Stanley park which is only around the corner from Marton Mere, we also visited Blackpool Zoo which MacKenzie loved the dinosaur safari. Both Mya and MacKenzie love crafts so to the Creative corner they went one morning……at creative corner you can select different type of crafts for example, sand art pictures, canvas paintings, pottery painting and the new foam clay pottery models. If you are wanting to do an activity with the pottery which Mya and Mackenzie chose to do there is a good selection of models to paint or cover in foam clay. MacKenzie automatically wanted a model of Kirby (he is a very big fan…….Kirby is talked about every day in our house) sadly no Kirbys, but we did find an octopus who was about to have the Kirby transformation. Mya went for the cat and painted it to match our fifth family member, Meme our cat.
We would just like to say again a big Thank You to first all the people who helped raise the money to pay for the caravan breaks……so a big Thank You to Burnley College, all the door staff at Smackwater Jack`s Bar in Burnley, Premier Kennedy`s Store in Burnley and Avenham General Store in Preston. These funds have made a huge difference to the families living with autism who went to Marton Mere.
Here are some quotes from our families who had the weekend break:
“Lovely weekend in Blackpool raising awareness for autism thank you Davina Walker & Scott Noddings for making this happen for us appreciated.”
From Catherine and family.
“Thank you very much for the weekend break we have all had a great time especially Ryan and Katie.”
From Caroline and family.
“Fab weekend, thank you”
From Emma and family.
“Wonderful……had a great time thank you.”
From Attila and family
We would also like to give special thanks to:
Michelle at Haven Marton Mere who works in Guest Relations, she kindly supported us by providing free activity park passes for all our families during their stay.
The Blackpool Tower for Lighting Up Blue 4 Autism again on World Autism Awareness Day 2nd April (due to technical difficulties this year only the heart and the top were able to light up blue).
The Principle Trust Charity for providing us with accommodation at Marton Mere over the Autism Awareness Weekend………had a lovely time, thank you so much.