AS the summer holidays approach, most of us will be planning a break away with family.
But for many people with disabilities, holidays are not an option.
Yellow Submarine is a charity, based in Oxford, which provides opportunities for people with learning disabilities and their families and carers to benefit from safe, subsidised respite breaks and day trips.
Giving people supervised time away with their friends, new-found independence and a whole lot of fun, Yellow Submarine relies heavily on the help of volunteers and financial donations to work – and is the latest charity hoping to benefit from the Jubilee Fund for Oxfordshire.
The fund was set up in January by the Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) and people and groups across the county are being asked to make a difference in their own communities, by donating money which will be given in a series of £1,000 grants to local charities.
Toby Staveley, 34, from Oxford, founded Yellow Submarine in 2008 after seeing his late uncle, who had Down’s Syndrome, struggle with holidays.
He said: “My uncle wanted very much to go to Disney World in Florida, but for him that meant paying for a carer to go with him, her flight, accommodation, meals, everything, and for most people that is just not an option.
“My uncle loved to be with his friends and I saw Yellow Submarine as a way for people to enjoy time away with their friends in a far more economical way.”
Father-of-two Mr Staveley added: “We usually take groups of five people with disabilities away together.
“All holidays are led by trained and experienced staff aided by volunteers. The group aims to provide a natural holiday environment, choosing not to use sterile care homes, but making a great point of staying in typical, but often breathtaking holiday cottages.”
Ellen Coking’s daughter Katy, 33, recently went on a Yellow Submarine holiday.
Mrs Coking, from Farmoor, said: “Katy loves choosing which holiday she would like to go on. The holidays also make her feel independent, and build her confidence.”
Yellow Submarine has provided holidays to Cornwall and Blackpool and day trips to the Natural History Museum in Oxford.
During the summer it also runs a twice-weekly holiday club for 11- to 18-year-olds, and has just bought a minibus.
Mr Staveley said: “The cost of these holidays remains quite substantial and often those most in need cannot afford them, so the group relies on the help of volunteers and financial donations.”
- To donate to the Jubilee Fund or to fundraise, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01865 798666, or drop into OCF’s offices at 3 Woodins Way, Oxford. Or text JBLE 12 to 70070 with a donation. To apply for Jubilee Fund cash, visit oxfordshire.org
- To support Yellow Submarine call 01865 249662, send a cheque to Yellow Submarine, Room 8, 1st Floor, 9 Park End Street, Oxford, OX1 1HH, or log on to yellowsubmarine.org.uk