If you have recently been on holiday through Give Us Time or have donated a holiday home, please do share your stories.
“We had a wonderful time at Wood Hall – it’s such a calming and relaxing place”
Last week Give Us Time sent four military families – a total of eighteen people and a combination of family and friends, to the fabulous Wood Hall in the Lake District. We would like to thank the hosts for their kind donation of time.
Wood Hall is a stunning house that sleeps eighteen people and has six acres of landscaped gardens. The house has beautiful views across Skiddaw, Grassmore and the Lorton and Buttermere valleys. The gardens, designed by Thomas Mawson in 1910 are a haven. Considering that there were eleven children in the group one can only imagine the fun they had, especially considering that there was croquet, boules, swings, slides and a trampoline available!
The families who went are all close friends and family and include active service personnel and veterans. This was a much-needed opportunity for them to stop, relax and reconnect with each other as well as a chance to thank those whose support has been invaluable.
As one family member said: “We had a wonderful time at Wood Hall - it is such a calming and relaxing place. Even though there was a large group of us - there was so much space and the gardens are beautiful - the children weren’t seen for hours! The value of being able to get away to a place such as Wood Hall cannot be quantified - it is simply essential for service families to regain those connections that are essential to maintain a healthy family life.”
Give Us Time and the families would like to send our “heartfelt thanks” to the brilliant owners of Wood Hall for their generous donation of time to military families in need.
"My little boy loved it – the pools were like a bath!"
Give Us Time would like to once again express our gratitude to everyone at The Balkan Jewel in Bulgaria for hosting our annual group trip and providing such a wonderful opportunity for our military families.
Families noted that not only was Chris Grech, who is the owner of the resort, fantastic but that every member of staff made every effort to make them feel welcome and ‘were always there to help with anything that was needed.’
Mark and his family noted that they had ‘a great time’ and that the hotel was ‘very clean and the staff were very friendly’. Furthermore, the spa was ‘great and my little boy loved it – the pools were like a bath!’.
The Balkan Jewel is a fabulous resort and has everything a family could ever want, from swimming pools, to access to skiing and snowboarding to a spa and opportunities to go white-water rafting!
We are very thankful for the support and opportunities they have given to our military families and Give Us Time over the years.
One family's thank you.
We've recently returned from our holiday at the Hollywood Mirage, Tenerife & can't thank you enough.
We had a fantastic week enjoying some much needed family R&R. The apartment & amenities were fantastic & the children enjoyed every minute in the pool.
To donate a holiday is such a kind gesture & I hope many other families have the opportunity to enjoy.
Thank you again.
“Thank you so much for my family’s break at Center Parcs”
One of our military families has just returned from a short break at Center Parcs Elveden which enabled the family to unwind and reconnect as a family unit.
This village is set in stunning 400 acres of Elveden Forest where many gorgeous muntjac deer roam! There are all sorts of activities for families to enjoy including walks, cycle paths and all the fun to be had on Center Parcs’ largest water sport lake: try the exhilarating Cable Water Ski and ‘The Drop’, if you fancy free-falling 10 metres!
There is also a wonderful swimming pool, arts and crafts, climbing walls, golf, kayaking and much more to keep everybody entertained!
Our family said “Thank you so much for my family’s break at Center Parcs last week. It gave us some relaxing family time that we just don’t get and it was amazing. Thank you very much.”
Respite breaks for our families can make such a difference and have a lasting impact, Give Us Time is grateful to Center Parcs for their continued generosity and everyone else who supports us support military families. Thank you.
Give Us Time would like to thank Center Parcs, once again, for their outstanding support.
Thank you to everyone at Belton Woods Hotel
Give Us Time would like to thank the owners of the Belton Woods Owners’ Club in Lincolnshire for their very generous donation of time for one of our military families in need of time away to reconnect after the stresses that military life can cause. We would especially like to highlight their kindness as this is their first donation of time and the positive impact this respite break had on our family is priceless. The family’s thank you letter to both Belton Woods and Give Us Time is included below.
“Myself and my family were recently very fortunate to spend a weekend at Belton Woods. Through the Give Us Time charity we were offered a week in one of the superb lodges situated around the edge of the golf course, as part of the hotel/spa resort. And the only regret is that we weren’t able to take up the offer of spending the whole week there.
However, that did not take anything away from the weekend we were lucky enough to stay.
As is a familiar situation with many forces families I work away during the week, doing a lengthy weekly commute. The reason behind the decision to live apart was so we could get our two children settled for schooling and give a more stable life having lived in five houses in eight years.
As I work in the Lincolnshire area I was able to go to the hotel resort and check in early, the staff were very friendly and accommodating and actually allowed me to check in early as the property was available. This enabled me to get the lodge ready before my wife and children arrived from the North-East. When I got to the lodge I couldn’t quite believe how fantastic it was, and how lucky we were to be spending the weekend there. We also received a complimentary bottle of wine, which was a very nice touch.
The accommodation is absolutely superb and fully stocked with everything you need for cooking and catering. Immaculately clean throughout and a delight to spend the weekend there.
As luck had it, the weekend we spent there fell on Mother’s Day weekend. And it’s certainly a weekend we’ll never forget. We had a great time in the hotel pool, where again we found all of the staff to be friendly and helpful.
The weekend was fully enjoyed by all of us, it provided a much-needed change of scenery in a beautiful relaxed setting, whilst giving us a chance to be together as a family away from home. Something we will always be grateful for and remember fondly.
Outstanding work by the charity and donors to enable families to enjoy such a luxury that otherwise would not be feasible.”
Reid Villa, Habitat Escapes in the Cotswolds
One family expressed their gratitude for having the opportunity to enjoy one of our respite breaks at The Lower Mill Estate in the Cotswolds.
Reid Villa is part of the beautiful Lower Mill Estate in the heart of the Cotswolds. The Lower Mill Estate is a world-class conservation site that is home to the first family of beavers that were reintroduced to England in 2005. The Estate is also home to a vast variety of wildlife including birds, dragonflies, water voles and otters. All of the accommodation is also sustainable. A break here is to truly escape into the heart of some of the most beautiful English countryside!
The family praised the “excellent facilitates” of both the villa and the estate. The estate offers an amazing array of activities including more than 300 acres of nature to explore, eight lakes and two rivers. There are plenty of opportunities to canoe and kayak as well as walking and cycling. There is also an award-winning spa on the estate. The family enjoyed many of these facilities and they contributed to helping the family unwind and reconnect after difficult times.
The family were extremely grateful and said that it was “exactly what the family needed.”
Give Us Time would like to thank the generosity of The Lower Mill Estate for giving one of our military families the opportunity they needed to stop, relax and reconnect as a family unit.
A Wonderful Time At Center Parcs
The Priestman family recently returned from their long weekend break at Center Parcs’ Sherwood Forest and although we don’t think they saw any sign of Robin Hood and his Merry Band of Men, the family seemed to have a good time away!
Center Parcs offers a vast number of activities available as well as a lake with a beach and the forest to explore!
The Priestman’s seemed to try most of them - “we enjoyed all of the activities and had time to relax and enjoy all that Center Parcs has to offer – from the swimming pools to the high wires”
Give Us Time would like to thank Center Parcs again for their continued support and kindness.
“I would like to say that my children and I had a wonderful time at Center Parcs, thank you for your kind generosity.”
CLC’s Tranquil Oasis
Thank you to CLC World for their generous donation of a weekend break at CLC Hustyns which is a beautiful resort nestled in the Cornwall countryside. Give Us Time sent a family of five and we are so pleased that they had a wonderful weekend – as they said “it is the best resort I have ever been too.”
The resort comprises of a hotel and luxurious lodges, an indoor swimming pool, steam rooms, a sauna and beautiful grounds set in 100 acres of Cornish woodland. The resort was designed to create a tranquil oasis away from the stresses of life which is perfect for our military families in need of time away relaxing and reconnecting as a family unit after long periods of separation.
We cannot thank CLC enough as the family says “Thank you very much for the opportunity, it is one my family and I will remember for a long time.”
Thank you Center Parcs and Give Us Time
Dear Give Us Time,
My family & I cannot thank you enough for giving us such a wonderful break at Center Parcs.
From the moment we got there, all life’s daily stresses & strains were forgotten about.
Initially, we thought we might book a few activities & really make the most of what was on offer. But in the end, we decided that we just needed to rest & recoup.
We got there Friday evening & cooked our tea. Just sitting around the lovely big table with no tv in view was something we had previously overlooked. As we ate, we all chatted & laughed.
We spent the days walking around the beautiful site and swimming until our hands & feet were very wrinkly. Our son said we had raisin hands!
We laughed so much & the smiles never left our faces!
We really did have the best time & reconnected as a family unit.
It made a real difference to us & just having that time together out of the usual routine really took the world off our shoulders.
We are eternally grateful. Thank you so very very much.
The Van Staden family.
‘Thank you from the bottom of my heart’
Thank you to Azure Resorts and the kind supporters who donated the flights for their generosity who all made it possible for Ian to take his two children to the beautiful Azure Resort in Malta along with four other families Give Us Time sent in October. This was a much needed break after Ian was injured and going through his rehabilitation process.
The family thought “the hotel was amazing and we took full advantage of all of the fantastic facilities” which includes three swimming pools, a water sports and dive centre, a spa and leisure centre as well as a beautiful private beach. Furthermore, the family had the choice of 9 on-site restaurants and bars!
“I would like to thank you and everyone involved from the bottom of my heart for the holiday. It was amazing and has made me so happy. Since my injury I have not had quality time with my children. We had a fabulous week together and it has strengthened the bond between us again.”
‘Thank you to Azure Resorts for this wonderful opportunity’
“I would like to say many thanks for your organisation's massive help and devotion towards injured soldiers and granting us this much needed holiday”.
The Karuga family is one of the five families Give Us Time in collaboration with the rehabilitation centre at Headley Court sent to the beautiful Azure Resort in Malta.
The family’s own words say it all: “I would like to say many thanks for your organisation's massive help and devotion towards injured soldiers and granting us this much needed holiday.
We feel very privileged to have been given such an opportunity. Radisson Blue Resort was able to organise spacious transfer from the airport to the hotel and once we got to the hotel we were blown away with the five-star resort. We were accommodated in a two-bedroom apartment overlooking the beach front and the view was amazing. The weather worked to our favour and we were pretty much in the beach every day.
The hotel staff were amazing and very professional. Our rooms were cleaned every day and the options available both at the bar and at the buffet was so wide that we were lost for choice. I would definitely go back again. The resort staff had unconditional devotion in ensuring that our stay was well looked after”.
To fully enjoy the beauty of Malta the family even rented a car and enjoyed exploring around. “My family loved each and every aspect of the holiday. I must say a massive thank you again and can’t thank you enough for that.”
‘Time together is very precious’
“I would just like to say a huge thank you for the generosity given by all those who have donated and supported this charity and allowed me and my family the chance to go away for some much-needed rest together. Time together is very precious and I am so grateful to everyone for this opportunity. We are so incredibly excited to be going to Malta. Please continue to support our incredibly heroic and marvellous armed forces and families who dedicate so much without question or hesitation.”
Matthew and Hilary were both very grateful and excited to be going to the Azure Resort in Malta. They were one of five families Give Us Time sent to Malta in October due to the kind donation of accommodation from the Azure Resort and the kind supporters who donated the flights.
They were able to begin their holiday stress-free thanks to the arranged priority boarding and the resort taking care of all of the transportation transfers. “The hotel was set in a gorgeous location with its own private beach, with plenty of activities available for all budgets. The hotel facilities included a spa with treatments available, three restaurants, two pools and a fitness suite. The staff at the hotel were very welcoming and helpful in offering information about the best 'Must Sees' during our stay. We had a lovely spacious room with fitted kitchen, which allowed us the freedom to cater as desired. We had the added benefit of being B&B board, which meant we were offered an amazing selection of food for breakfast at the hotel.”
The family also enjoyed the beauty of the island: “There was plenty to keep us busy whilst in Malta, using the amazing public transport to explore the beauty of Malta's incredible history. The local food was incredible and the people friendly.”
The family stressed the importance of this time away after facing difficulties and strains: “This was a much-needed break for my wife and I where we could relax and unwind, which we have not been able to do since being injured. We are incredibly grateful for this chance to spend some much needed time together and would like to thank those involved in your kindness and generosity.”
Our Hollywood Mirage holiday
We would like to thank all the team at Give Us Time, myself and the family had an amazing time Tenerife. Words are not enough to express how wonderful and how beautiful the place was.
This will be truly a life memory for the whole family.
The place was truly amazing and it couldn’t have come at a better time for us. Just been blessed with a beautiful little girl, the place was a very relaxing location and allowed me and my wife to just close the doors to the world and just relax.
I even started to write poetry on the beach as I truly found peace.
There was lots of things to do for the children with the beach only a stone throw, with some very fantastic food restaurant close by.
We had a truly fantastic time, from me and the rest of the family, we would like to say a massive thank you for everything
“Thank you River Valley Country Park”
We cannot thank you enough for the holiday which was much needed due to my wife losing her brother recently. We were both relaxed all week and had fantastic weather.
Upon arrival we were taken away by the surroundings of the park. So clean and surrounded by trees and a beautiful river running along where you can walk to Hayle.
We had a stroll on our 2nd day. We visited the Lizard Peninsula, St Ives, Penzance and Marazion where we walked the causeway to St Michaels Mount... so relaxing and beautiful.
On Thursday we visited Truro and called into the cathedral where they had a roof appeal. You could pay to write a message on a new roof slate that will be put on the roof so Nina wrote a memorial for her brother.
We really enjoyed having the time together experiencing new surroundings to visit as we have never been to the area before. Our caravan was lovely and warm when we arrived and was so clean with a small cleaning pack left for us. It had central heating and a lovely comfy bed. It had everything we needed.
Midweek Nina took a thank you card and chocolates for the staff as a small thank you. We would like to thank all at Give Us Time and River Valley for making the holiday possible.
Best wishes David & Nina
"Best weekend ever!"
I just want to say a massive thank you for kindly gifting my family a long weekend at Center Parcs. We returned home yesterday after a jam-packed weekend of swimming, pottery painting and other activities.
The girls absolutely loved the water slides and could have quite easily spent all day on them! The weekend ended with a fantastic firework display on Sunday.
Both Imogen and Darcy were sad to leave yesterday; Imogen said that “it’s been the best weekend ever”!
Below is a photo of their money boxes that they painted. Darcy’s (2yrs) is the piggy bank and Imogen’s (6yrs) is the unicorn.
Thank you once again; we really appreciate your kindness.
Thankful note from Tenerife
I would like to drop a line to thank Give Us Time for our great trip to Tenerife. Firstly, I would like to thank the helpful hosts at the Hollywood Mirage Club who were always there with lots of information before and after the visit to Tenerife. There is nothing I would like to change about the hosts, all I could say is keep doing what you are doing to help the guests as you are an amazing team.
We really had a great time there with an outstanding atmosphere in the apartment where we stayed. I was with my wife on a holiday for a week and we had an amazing and relaxed week off. The apartment that we got through Give Us Time courtesy of Silverpoint was absolutely fantastic with a great view.
We both looked forward to the events that hotel organised as there were interesting things happening in the hotel each day. Tenerife itself is a very interesting place to visit and is surrounded with lovely beaches with spectacular views.
We both had a great fun in Siam Park which had lots of activities to do and one day was not enough. We also enjoyed all the excursions we have been to with great food and a great range of activities in the beaches. It is also a place for seafood lovers and party people. The pubs are awesome with great atmosphere by the beaches in the south.
It was a proper break for me and my wife, we loved every bit of it as we got to spend quality time together which we don't get often due to our busy work commitments.
I would like to thank Give Us Time and the hosts Silverpoint for giving me an opportunity to take a break from hustle and bustle of busy life, and I can't think of any better way than this.
We both took lots of good memories which we will cherish for a lifetime and we cannot thank enough to both Give Us Time and Silverpoint.
Thank you so much
The Norfolk family at Center Parcs
“We all wanted to say a huge thank you”.
The Norfolk family enjoyed a long weekend at Center Parcs, Woburn which gave them the chance to stop, take a break and relax together.
As Lynn said the weekend ‘gave us all time to spend quality time with each other whilst recharging batteries’.
Mr Norfolk has served in the RAF for more than 15 years and is due to leave the Armed Forces. The changes that come with it have caused stresses for all the family and the break was just what they needed to reconnect.
Center Parcs Woburn offers a wide array of activities including water sports, swimming pools and aerial adventures, as well as indoor activities: who doesn’t love some family table tennis?
The parc is set in 365-acre of forest and there is a lake as well which allows ample opportunity to reconnect with nature and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
Center Parcs’ generous donation to Give Us Time allowed Lynn, Ben and Ellie to escape the stresses of everyday life and reconnect as a family unit: “It was so peaceful and it was great to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and the stress that can sometimes bring”.
The peace that the Norfolks found at Center Parcs will for sure have a long-lasting positive impact upon each member of the family and as a cohesive family unit.
"Heroes Haven": a poem to find peace
We would like to thank all the team at Give Us Time, myself and the family had an amazing time at Heroes Haven.
The place was truly amazing and it couldn’t have come at a better time for us. I suffer from PTSD and Heroes Haven Swanage was a very relaxing location and allowed me to gather my thoughts.
I even started to write poetry in the gardens as I truly found peace.
There was lots of things to do for the children with the beach only a stone throw, with some very historic location close by. We had a truly fantastic time, thank you.
I had added the poem I wrote in the garden at Heroes Haven.
Sea sand, and
The kids are having
Ice cream chips, fun fair
Relax in the garden
Ready for the BBQ
This place is the
For the family and
We don't want to
We’d love to
The Memories will last
Until the end of our
Father and daughter spend quality time in Tenerife
I would just like to say thank you so much to Give Us Time for a wonderful opportunity to experience a wonderful holiday in a fantastic location!
My daughter and I enjoyed some much needed time together and the location and venue was perfect for us!
We also received a complimentary day trip which we chose for a visit to Loro park which was incredible and unexpected!
I cannot thank the company enough for its generosity and I truly hope other service families can enjoy such experiences with their loved ones! Again on behalf of my daughter and I we are truly humbled and extremely grateful for Give Us Times wonderful gesture and cannot emphasise enough how truly grateful we are!
Amazing week at the Hollywood Mirage
1 week stay in August. Excellent accommodation and resort.
Big thank you to all the staff at the Hollywood Mirage Club and the sponsors.
I’m just going to highlight some of the best parts of the holiday – the apartment was 2 bedrooms. It was massive and more than adequate for our family of four. You could comfortably house 6 people and not feel on top of each other. We were located in the ‘Whitehouse’ as they call it. Its proximity to all of the hotel amenities are ideal…. the only downside for some is that you can hear all of the evening entertainment which was quite loud until about 2300. Not a problem for us as we were on holiday to enjoy ourselves even when the kids were in bed!
The hotel was a bit away from the beach but there is a courtesy shuttle bus which operated on an hourly basis to Los Cristianos and Playa de los Americas. However, we had a hire care which was ideal for exploring the whole island.
We did generally chill by the pool. Which is amazing. Yes, you need to go and reserve a sunbed at 0830 – an annoyance for some but not for us. The animation team are fantastic and my kids absolutely loved them!
We did take a trip to Aqualand. (A free trip from Keys Concierge). It was ideal for our kids who are 3 and 5. They loved the park. My only downside as a parent was that the amount of chlorine in the kids’ pool was huge….
We cannot thank Give Us Time enough for the opportunity to get away for a week with my family. I have spread the word to all my military friends. Excellent charity, resort, website and week away. Memories to last a lifetime.
Amazing week at the CLC Alpine Centre
"My family is eternally grateful to Give Us Time and CLC World Resorts for providing the opportunity to explore the stunning Austrian Alps and spend quality time together as a family. It is a well-known fact that military life can take its toll on the family and the best way to tackle such strains is time away from the daily pressures.
The CLC Alpine Centre is a superb resort, catering for every possible family requirement. The facilities were ideal; swimming pool, sauna, gym and options for self-catering or full-board. Options for self-catering are extremely welcome when travelling with a 5-year-old with several dietary intolerances!
The location was superb, right in the heart of the Alps, allowing for excursions to the Eagle’s Nest (just over the border in Germany), feeding the Marmots on top of the Grossglockner Alpine Road, experiencing Salzburg and sledging on the 10,000' Kitzsteinhorn Glacier in mid-August.
It is difficult to describe how grateful we all are for the opportunities Give Us Time have provided us as a family to experience new adventures and spend quality time together. The holiday has certainly had the desired effect, we return have had an amazing time, most certainly closer as a family. Thank you."
“We would like to say a massive thank you to you all at Give Us Time & of course the hosts of the Hollywood Mirage accommodation.”
The Warman family recently enjoyed a week away in Spain after a stressful time back at home.
“….we had a ball! The main reason why we enjoyed this break so much was that the resort itself was amazing, which helped lots with daddy Warman enjoying himself for the first time in years and years and was able to relax!
We can't thank you enough....I think the pictures say it all ❤️❤️”
Once again thank you to Hollywood Mirage Club and Silverpoint for donating invaluable time to our families in need.
We would just like to say a massive thank you for the fantastic holiday that we have just spent at the CLC Alpine Centre in Austria.
Both the hotel and the staff were amazing and we couldn't have asked for anything more.
The hotel is situated in Saalfalden, just outside Zell Am See and was a great base to explore Austria from. We enjoyed several days out including a trip to Saltzburg, a visit to the Eagle's Nest just over the border in Germany, Scüttdorf lido on lake Zell, and the stunning Krimmler Waterfalls.
The apartment provided us with the option to cook for ourselves - which we combined with the great food in the hotel restaurant and also nearby eateries - and was very well resourced with a swimming pool and play areas for children.
My family and I are incredibly grateful to both the CLC Alpine Centre and Give Us Time for the opportunity to spend such an amazing week of quality time together in Austria.
The hospitality we received was fantastic and we feel very lucky to have been given such an opportunity. Many thanks to all those involved.
FANTASTIC WEEK IN TENERIFE
Big thank you to all the staff at the Hollywood Mirage Club and the sponsors, Silverpoint.
After returning from a recent deployment to BATUS we had fortune of booking a week away to Tenerife, which was a great opportunity for my wife and 1 year old son to get some badly needed R&R.
I'm just going to highlight some of the best parts of the holiday - the apartment was more than enough space for the 3 of us, as my son hasn't long started the walk he loved the space in which to explore and the balcony which over looked the pool added more space for him to roam around supervised.
The hotel was a bit away from the beach we used the courtesy shuttle bus which operated on an hourly bases to Los Cristianos and Playa de los Americas.
We did generally chill by the pool or beach but we did take a trip to Loro park which was definitely worth the trip, as it is rated the best Zoo in Europe and was a fantastic day out for all of the family which my son really enjoyed apart from getting splashed by the killer whale.
We cannot thank Give Us Time enough for the opportunity to get away for a week with my family.
Give Us Time Capability Enhancement
The co-ordination of our activities is managed through our website which is now 3 years old and has not been developed to meet the changing requirements of this young charity and the increasing number of beneficiaries.
The upgrade, partially funded by The Big Lottery Fund, will enable us to: engage newly defined beneficiary types, increase the charity’s profile, fund-raise effectively and capture the data required to evaluate our beneficiaries and our performance.
Most of all an improved and easier to use website will hopefully attract new donations of holidays that will allow us to help more families in need of our services.
We would like to thank The Big Lottery for believing in our project and in our charity, and giving us such a boost!
We are looking forward to working with Siobhan and her team at 2112.
Thank you Hollywood Mirage Club
Our flight departed Manchester at 1600 so we didn't arrived at Hollywood mirage club till around 2100. When we arrived the staff where really friendly and helpful and the resort was lovely. We couldn't believe it when we got to our room, the apartment we had been given was beautiful, really modern and spacious, and things only got better when we went to check out the balcony. We had sun loungers, a table with four chairs, and our own little garden. All of which overlooked one of the swimming pools that was all lit up in the night. We spent the rest of the evening just settling in before heading to bed.
Today we walked through Los Christianos just getting to know the area. Then down to the beach where we spent the day relaxing. We then headed to a bar on the beach front for food and drinks and the Scotland Vs England game.
Day 3 Today we went out for a walk and had lunch then returned back to the hotel for a lazy day by the pool. In the evening we headed down into Los Christianos and went for an Indian meal.
Today we walked to Las Vista beach - I think this is the nicest beach we visited during our time here. So I would recommend this beach if people do visit. We spent the day playing ball games on the beach and in the water.
Today was another lazy day round the pool just soaking up the sun. It was so nice to be there with my family members just relaxing and getting to spend quality time with them.
Today we visited Siam Park and what amazing place this is, again I fully recommend this to people if they come here. We spent the day rushing round the park trying to get on all the rides. Some of them definitely get the adrenaline going! In the evening we headed out for food before returning back to the hotel.
Today we had another pool day just relaxing. The entertainment around the pool was very good, music playing and lots of activities like aqua aerobics, darts, quiz and a fashion show. In the evening we just had some food at the hotel and started packing up as we were leaving the following day.
This was the final day of the holiday so we packed the rest of our belongs up in the morning and checked out. Then just relaxed by the pool and in the restaurant before getting our transport to the airport.
I can't thank the team at Give Us Time enough and the people who make these holidays possible! I would highly recommend this holiday to everyone it's in such a great location, shops, bars, restaurants, beaches and also lots of opportunities to go away on trips if that's what you fancy.
The accommodation was first class and the staff at The Hollywood Mirage Club where always there to help and really friendly. Also the food around the pool bar was really nice, and they would have entertainment on around the pool and on an evening.
CLC World Resorts & Hotels hosts our group holiday at Costa del Sol resort
Thanks to the generosity of CLC World Resorts & Hotels, seven families from Give Us Time stayed at CLC Club La Costa World multi-resort on the Costa del Sol for a week in May. This was the second group holiday donated by CLC World, a long-time supporter of the Give Us Time cause.
The seven families had a wonderful time in a beautiful and peaceful location with loads of amenities to choose from: swimming pools, beaches and kids’ entertainment!
One of our families said: “Thank you so much to everyone who made this possible. We had a really lovely time. Was so nice to spend quality time with my family away from the manic lifestyle we live.”
The resort also held a superb reception for our families hosted by Jennie Bond, broadcaster and journalist. Jennie, CLC World’s brand ambassador, enjoyed meeting the Give Us Time families and hearing about their experiences.
In her welcome speech, she wished them well, saying: “I understand that being away from family for long periods poses all kinds of strains on the relationship and I hope being here is giving you time to readjust as a family unit.”
The families also enjoyed a guided tour to the beautiful mountain town of Ronda, courtesy of CLC World.
But most of all, the families had time to reconnect, de-stress and create great family memories: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the charity and CLC World for an amazing week’s break. People like you make the world a better place to be in”, said one of our beneficiaries.
The importance of the initiatives that Give Us Time promotes was stressed by CLC World’s Director of UK Operations, Graham Wilding, who said: “Many of us take going on holiday for granted but this can be a challenge for many coping with an illness, time apart and caring for a loved one. Helping to change this and increase awareness of these causes is key to our initiative.”
These holidays are proven to be beneficial not only for the service person or the veteran, but for the family as a whole. From the words of one beneficiary who benefitted from this opportunity on the Costa del Sol: “Thank you for such a lovely holiday it made a world of difference! My husband was so much more relaxed and actually had some proper nights sleep without nightmares - the first time in many years - which had such a positive impact on the whole family.”
A family’s trip to Center Parcs – the importance of reconnecting!
“I would like to thank you sincerely for the wonderful break for my family and I. I was injured in Afghanistan by an IED in 2010 and have worked hard getting fit and completing my degree over the last three years. All of this was achieved with the support of my wife and three children, this break was not for me but my family as a whole to enjoy each other's company and enjoy new experiences.”
The family had a wonderful time during their stay at Center Parcs and much appreciated the generosity that allowed them to enjoy this experience as a family.
“The children enjoyed every moment of Center Parcs. The staff were friendly, the accommodation was great and the facilities were fantastic. The children enjoyed the swimming pool and flumes the most. It was a great trip and cemented the idea that we need to take more breaks together as a family in the future now that we are settled and I have no more future operations.”
The family thanked both Center Parcs and Give Us Time for this break which gave them the much needed energy to look with positivity at their future together.
Trip For Two To Tenerife!
"I would like to thank Give Us Time and CLC World Resorts & Hotels for giving me the opportunity to take my partner away to such a beautiful and well-maintained resort with endless opportunities”.
These are the words of one of our beneficiaries who was finally able to spend some quality time with his partner in Tenerife after enduring much stress and struggles.
When the serviceperson is away on duty, the family needs to deal with their absence and all the worries the deployment cause. But when someone at home is going through illnesses and difficulties this puts major strains on the serviceperson who is away, often with poor communications.
“It was an amazing experience and made a world of difference after being away on a 9 month deployment and the tough time she has been through."
One week away in a relaxed and peaceful environment can really make a difference for military families and the impact of a holiday donation is remarkable.
“The work you do at Give us Time is amazing and on behalf of myself and fellow serving members I would like to give you a special thanks.”
From military to civilian life: a break helps transition
We were so fortunate to be given this amazing opportunity to holiday with our family for free, we chose the Heroes Haven in Swanage.
And wow it did not disappoint!
The lodge itself is stunning with a huge garden, and a BBQ hut which any army man will defiantly love: the ultimate man cave!
When we arrived it was immaculate with thoughtful little touches like a free welcome hamper full of goodies, after a 4 hour drive the kids raided! The area itself is beautiful and there are many activities to choose from: from rock pooling, enjoying the sandy beaches, country walks to the local holiday park - park deans entertainment with hot outdoor pool and plenty going on for the kids, if you pop in there you can get a pass for not much money and use their facilities out of school holidays.
Our Trip to Casamaggiore
Wonderful family holiday to a beautiful part of Italy
My family and I very were lucky to have had the opportunity to stay in a fantastic house in Casamaggiore, Italy, courtesy of Give us Time. Immediately following booking the host was in contact providing extremely useful information on the house, suggested places to visit and lots of other tips for our trip.
The house we stayed in is situated in the small village of Casamaggiore in the picturesque hills close to the town of Castiglione del Lago. The three story house was a wonderful place to stay, my children and I particularly enjoyed jumping into the private swimming pool at the end of each hot day in the Italian sunshine.
The house provided us with a fantastic base to explore Italy from. We enjoyed several great days out including visiting the field of miracles in Pisa, marvelling at the fantastic sights of Rome and exploring the underground city of Perugia. Also locally we loved the town of Castiglione del Lago, wondering the narrow streets, sampling the local delicacies, as well as dips in the nearby Lake Trassimeno!
My family and I are extremely grateful to both the host and to Give us Time for giving us the opportunity for some valuable time together in an absolutely beautiful setting. Should the opportunity ever come to visit here again we would jump at the chance. Thank you all very much
The Lower Mill Estate in the Cotswolds
The Lower Mill Habitat Escapes in the Cotswolds accommodated one deserving military family for a week, in which they could relax and unwind in a picturesque and lush countryside setting.
The family thoroughly enjoyed their time at the Habitat Escapes in the Cotswolds. They were able to bike, canoe, swim and walk in the natural surroundings that the holiday place offers.
One of the youngest was able to improve her swimming significantly as the estate offered a heated eco-pool, in which she could practice and advance her skills.
Cycling in the natural surroundings - one of Britain’s most attractive and diverse areas which featured a plethora of wildlife was another unforgettable memory for the family. One family member commented that: "One of the most appealing aspects of the break was the abundance of wildlife".
The estate offered numerous canoeing routes around the lakes including those to Treasure Island and the Trail of Species. However, the main attraction was the chance to spot the colony of beavers who were reintroduced in Britain after an absence of hundreds of years.
The family were able to create memories that they will treasure and the kindness of staff and all of the activities helped them to “reconnect and rebuild relationships”.
The family thanked Habitat Escapes for their generosity which made this all possible.
The Walkworth Trip to Woburn
“Thank you to both Give Us Time and Center Parcs- you've given us so lovely memories.”
The Walkworth family enjoyed a long weekend at Center Parcs in Woburn. Mrs Walkworth worked out that the boys – aged 7 and 5 spent around 12 hours in the swimming pool!
“My boys are now fabulous swimmers so I took them to the outside rapids, which they loved. It is so scary watching them zoom down, crashing into walls and splashing into waves but I could hear their laughed as I frantically chased down after them.”
The time away allowed them to spend quality time together with the whole family and the boys participated in numerous activities including the zip wire, adventure golf, archery, and aerial adventures in the trees!
“We had booked activities for the late afternoon. Both the boys wanted Daddy to take them on tree adventures. Zac did the Tree trekking, it's 2meters off the floor. He loved it, there were a few things that were tricky and he needed Daddy’s support. He went around so fast they let him do it all again. Ethan went on the 10-metre-high aerial adventure. They were the last 2 of the day so the instructors let them mess around in the trees. Jay was challenging Ethan to climb back across each section and try it again using one hand or going backwards. After an hour in the trees they did a 150-metre zip wire across the top of the lake. Both the boys had a fabulous time.”
However, their teachers would be proud of them all as “both boys and Daddy did their homework!”
The trip also allowed Joanna and Jay to reconnect and catch up with each other after years of coming and going and now living apart during the week.
As Joanna writes: “Knowing we had Center Parcs to look forward to for the last 9 months was lovely and it came at the perfect time as we are still spending a lot of time apart. It was so lovely to all be having fun together.”
The Archer family at the peaceful Spinnaker cottage
“Thank you so much for the generosity and kindness of strangers.” are the appreciative words from the Archer family thanking Give Us Time and their host at Spinnaker cottage in Salcombe.
Family life is precious, more so to military families who spend quite a lot of time away from their loved ones and often miss out on important family events which they can never get back. This was the case for Mrs Archer who commented “Having missed most of the first 2 years of our son’s life and other major family events, a holiday was really appreciated”. The Archers were able to enjoy their beautiful accommodation in Spinnaker cottage set in peaceful and tranquil surroundings. They found it to be a special place to be able to relax and enjoy spending family time together without the distractions of the home and work life. They were able to completely relax and enjoy their retreat from everyday life. The time spent in Salcombe was really special for the Archer family which is why GUT holidays are precious to the military families as this gives them time to reconnect with their loved ones. From Mrs Archer’s own words: “We are overwhelmed by at all the generosity shown to help us have such as wonderful time as a family”.
The importance of a week away for a grieving family
“I have been through so much emotionally since losing our only child in Afghanistan and truly this was such a lovely and quiet place that gave me time to relax and leave behind all of the hardships and struggles of my life”.
The family went on a week accommodation with CLC World Resorts & Hotels in Tenerife. They were impressed by the resort and highlighted how the accommodation was first class in a lovely and pleasant place: “everything you could ask for from a holiday!” The staff were so friendly and supportive and the entertainment team second to none! “We played golf, bingo and even a quiz game”. There is also a shuttle that takes you to the city centre where there are a lot of nice places to visit and lovely restaurants that the family very much enjoyed.
The family added how they were pleased in meeting amazing people with whom they shared their memories of their late son. “It was lovely just to be able to talk about him, people were lovely and wished us well and thanked us for his service. In some ways, it gave me so much pride in all he did for his country to know people truly are grateful for all our fallen service personnel.”
The family were so happy to see that people didn’t hide from them - on the contrary they wanted to know about their son and speaking about him proved to be a healing experience.
“Thank you so much to all at Give Us Time! I don’t think people realise just how important these week trips can help our families. I am deeply grateful to the wonderful people and companies who give up accommodation to allow these trips to happen”
Lady Kitty Spencer energizes Fundraising event
Give Us Time wouldn’t have such a great impact if it wasn’t for the dedication of its Trustees and Ambassadors. Their commitment and understanding of the importance of our charitable cause enables the Charity to go the extra mile and do its best to help military families in need.
At our annual Fundraising event, held at the Corinthia in November 2016, our Ambassador and Trustee Lady Kitty Spencer delivered a powerful and moving speech underlining the importance of the family and of Give Us Time work.
Lady Kitty Spencer spoke about her personal experience and how she was deeply touched by the stories of the families who had been on a holiday, through Give Us Time, and the remarkable effect it had on their lives. “We don’t claim to be an ultimate fix”, she explained, highlighting how the feedback received from our beneficiary showed “how much of an impact just a simple break can be in terms of reconnecting as a family unit”. Lady Kitty Spencer explained that Give Us Time aimed to “provide a chance for families to emerge back into a normal world” after suffering injuries, losses or long periods away from their loved ones.
Having thanked all those who had supported and continued to support the Charity, Lady Kitty Spencer concluded by saying that “Give Us Time was a brilliant and noble charity, tackling a serious need with urgency and sensitivity. I could not be prouder of speaking on its behalf”.
Tatler interview to our Trustee and Ambassador Lady Kitty Spencer
Lady Kitty Spencer, cousin to Royals William and Harry, joined Give Us Time in 2014 and from that moment on she has shown deep commitment in helping military families in need and raise awareness on Give Us Time work.
In December 2015 Kitty was interviewed by Tatler Magazine about her experience working with Give Us Time and all she does to help the Charity: “I do it because it’s such a great charity, but mainly because it gives me joy and it challenges me.”
Kitty is deeply involved in the Charity, meeting military families, welfare officers and trying to persuade more people to donate free holiday accommodation to those military families most in need. “I know the value of family”, Kitty explained in the Tatler article, “I come from a big, extended family myself. It is a support system, a source of strength and comfort through life’s ups and downs. For military personnel, family is the all-important backdrop to their professional lives. They need the stability and love to come back to, and they also need time away together.”
Give Us Time is very proud of Kitty’s work and her deep understanding of the challenges military families’ experience is remarkable.
As the article says, during a visit to Wellington Barracks to meet Service personnel in need “her blue eyes filled with tears on hearing about a soldier who needs a holiday arranged at once because he has cancer and not long to live.” Kitty’s meeting at Wellington Barracks was only one of many fact-finding and support visits. “I recently went to Center Parcs in Woburn to meet Captain Matthew Harris, his lovely wife Louise and their three boys, Henry, Edwards and Albert. Captain Harris explained that this time away was not something they would otherwise have been able to afford. Too often this is the case for military families. Last month we sent several families to a golf resort and spa in Turkey. One married couple in their 40s had never been away together before. Not once. I am so proud that Give Us Time is able to provide this precious time for rest and reconnection for those who need it most.”
She then underlined the importance of putting long-term effort in helping our Service men and women, highlighting how this is an important responsibility for each and every one in our community. “Last year , our combat mission in Afghanistan came to an end. It is imperative that we make sure that there is an enduring support network for those who have come home. Give Us Time envisions a nation that truly looks after our military families, not just now, but over the long term. This is not just a government issue. I believe it is our individual responsibility, to not only understand the service and sacrifices of our troops and their families, but to take action where we can, to help lighten their load. It’s the very least our military families deserve.”
A big thank you to Lady Kitty Spencer for her support to Give Us Time and all our military families.
Our 2016 Fundraiser event at the Corinthia: thank you to our donors!
Give Us Time would like to thank all those who attended our Fundraiser event on the 23rd November 2016. The event was not just an occasion to raise vital funds for the Charity, but it also gathered together our supporters and our holiday donors.
Words cannot properly express the heartfelt thanks we feel for your generosity and collaboration over the past years and we are looking forward to working with you in 2017 and beyond!
“It’s a huge honour to be a part of this Charity”, said one of our Hosts. “It feels great to be able to show our support to those who served or that are still serving and their families. It’s great to make them feel the support of the community and that the help comes from within the community as our way to show our thankfulness”.
Many guests highlighted the effectiveness of Give Us Time concept which allows to help “in such a simple and easy way, people who give an enormous value to what for us is maybe just an apartment or an hotel room”. Others underlined the importance of helping the family as a whole since it’s the family unit that suffers when a loved one is injured or has spent long time away because of deployment or exercise or indeed does not return…
Another holiday donor said: “I wish I can be an example for other resorts or private owners to join this project and become part of this Charity”.
Once again, thank you from all at Give Us Time for making a difference to the lives of so many of our families by allowing them to reconnect in a relaxed neutral environment, away from the pressures of Service life.
Our volunteers and supporters: thank you!
At Give Us Time, we have several volunteers helping out the Team and supporting our military families.
Some of them kindly supported us during our fundraising event in November. The volunteers helped before, during and after the event, providing the vital assistance which made the evening a great success. One of the volunteers, Erik, stated that he was "very delighted with helping out at the event and supporting military families that need time away". Without the help of the volunteers, this event would never have been able to run so smoothly.
A special thanks goes to the Cadets from Westminster City School and to the F Company, Scots Guards who supported the Give Us Time Team during the event, making the evening a truly “service family” event which celebrated all the Armed Forces, present, past and future!
Give Us Time would like to give a massive thanks to all the volunteers who helped out during the fundraising event giving their time in supporting our Charity and our cause.
One of our beneficiaries talks about his experience
Scotty Darroch, a former Corporal in the Royal Logistics Corps, spoke during Give Us Time event, about his personal experience and how the charity has helped him.
It took many years before Scotty was diagnosed with PTSD. Tough years of struggle, pain and even multiple attempts to take his own life. The diagnosed helped him understanding “it wasn’t just me but an illness causing these thoughts and actions”.
In his emotional and inspiring speech Scotty said “Give Us Time was my hand up, it was a huge humbling experience for me: having the general public and businesses giving up the holidays, timeshares and properties to help our military families in need of rest and rehabilitation was overwhelming!”
The Invictus Games athlete explained how the holiday, provided by Give Us Time, gave him and his wife Joanna the chance to reconnect and recover, in a neutral, relaxed environment far from home.
Scotty then addressed businesses and holidays owners encouraging them to donate to Give Us Time: “You are not just providing a vital holiday to a military family, you are not giving us a hand out. You are giving us a hand up. And that’s priceless”.
Give Us Time would like to thank Scotty and Joanna for participating in our event and for reminding us all of the importance of our work and the impact a donation to Give Us Time can make to the lives of military families in need.
The Hales Family
Fantastic eventful family time in Sunny Tenerife
We were very excited leading up to our little family holiday to Tenerife. Arrived at the airport early so we could explore the duty free shopping and then had dinner and drinks before bording our plane. We eventually arrived in resort 1am and after a stress free check in a lovely porter showed us to our room and all I can say is Wow. We had a 2 bedroom apartment and it was just stunning, complete with welcome pack of the necessary essentials of which the water was perticually well received. Also dishwasher and washing machine which would come in very handy later on! We fell into bed excited to explore the resort the next day. We woke to glorious sunshine eager to explore and get to the pool. Everything we needed was onsight, supermarket, restaurant and bar all which had reasonable prices. we had no problem finding sunbeds despite it being 11am, as hotel Operated a policy which was great and ment that towels on sunbeds unused all day was not a problem, they also tagged beds once they had confirmed that you were a guest in hotel and had not just wondered in from outside, and encouraged you to use their pool towels so that anyone without them stood out and they could check that there were ligitimate guests, all this created a stress free start to the morning and we found that no matter what time we went to the pool we were always guaranteed a Sunbed. We settled in and it wasnt long before my daughter (Age 14) had made friends. All of this along with wall to wall sunshine made for a fantastic week away. A week away that for us turned into 2 weeks away as the day before we were due to fly home my husband became ill and after seeing a doctor was declared unfit to fly. After frantically sorting him out I was now faced with the problem of having to check our of our room the following day with nowhere to go. Yes we had holiday insurance but unfortunately they were not very helpful! Great friends we had met while here helped and we went to reception to explain what had happened and again all I can say is Wow. After making a few calls they amazingly informed us that CLC World would not be kicking us out the following day but that we could stay until my husband was fit to fly. Nothing can explain how I felt at this moment and many tears followed. Nothing was too much trouble for Katerina in reception and her colleagues. So despite having to move to a 1 bedroom apartment which was equally amazing we were now safely accomadiated for the next week. The added bonus of washing machine and washing tablets was great as had only brought clothes for 1 week not 2. Hubby took a turn for the worse the following day and ended up on IV antibiotics for next few days. And then my daughter became poorly and was also put on antibiotics. Everywhere I went around the Complex staff asked how they were both doing and if we needed anything. We all feel very privileged to have been staying in a CLC World resort as the compassion we received was wonderful. Despite our little mishap we had an amazing 1st week and our 2nd unplanned week was made the best it could have possibly been under the circumstances. We The Hales family would like to thank the Give us Time team, the owners and everyone else concerned for giving a the opportunity to spend some family time together and despite everything we really did have a fantastic time.
Fantastic Italian getaway to Casamaggiore
Thanks to a very generous donation my sons and I had the opportunity to enjoy some precious time together during the half term holiday exploring beautiful Italy.
We stayed in a beautiful 3 story house in the quiet olive tree filled village of Casamaggiore, close to Castilliagno Del Lago in the central Italian province of Perugia. Our host was super helpful, providing some great ideas on how to spend our time in Italy to enable us to make the most of our trip. The property had everything we could wish for a comfortable break. Unfortunately the pool was not accessible as we travelled in Oct but the Italian autumn weather was still mild enough to relax outdoors on the sun loungers whilst reading a good book. We hired a car for the duration of our stay and I soon became accustomed to the Italian highways. We also used the rail network for a day visit to Rome which was absolutely amazing. During our trip we also visited Florence, which is less than an hour from the house. Such an amazing city and a wonderful opportunity for my sons (aged 7 & 9) to learn about Italian art and culture. We were lucky enough to visit during the annual Perugia Eurochocolate Festival! Wow... what an amazing chocolate fun filled day out. My husband and I are both serving so family time is extremely precious to us. Unfortunately my husband could not accompany us on this visit due to training commitments ... maybe next time! My boys certainly had some amazing tales to tell on their return to school, we cannot thank Give Us Time and our generous host enough. Nearly forgot to add, we ate A LOT of pizza too!
Darroch Holiday to CLC World Resorts & Hotels
Fantastic break away. Thank you so much!
Hi all, Thanks once again for providing us with a lovely break away. I hope this wee summary of our trip is ok. Arrived on Sunday and got transfer from airport to CLC World resort. Checked in to an apartment in Marina del Rey. Well what a spot, great garden plot, amazing views and scenery. Only few minutes walk to get groceries and some home comforts in the local pantry. To Fuengirola is about 7-8€ in taxi or from Club la Costa World about 1.9 mile 20 min walk along. On the beech great spots all along the front to get sun lounger 5€ each with waiter service to Resturant bar Loads of eatery places in fish alley , steakhouse, Italian, Chinese and Indians all fighting for your custom. Also great nightlife around every corner or just stay in apartment to pizza and bottle of wine or two. Lunch great spot called Med15 Beautiful menus Brilliant week with loads of relaxation thank you all so much from Joanne and I x
The Donnelly’s family weekend at Center Parcs Woburn Forest
The family said: “After a busy year through work and other emotional strains placed on our family…the Center Parcs break was just what we needed.
The first thing we noticed at Center Parcs was how all the staff were so engaging and loved their work. Phone operators to parking attendants all gushed at how wonderful it was, and were truly genuine. Our accommodation was fantastic and my wife even commented that this would be ample for us to live in once the kids had flown the nest. The chalk board door, with a personal message from the cleaning staff welcoming us was also a great touch! Even though the accommodation itself was fantastic, the family loved spending quality time outdoors having fun. “We threw ourselves into the activities. It turns out our son loves canoeing and fencing!” “The kids also loved getting out on their bikes and tearing it up around the bike trails! But the real gem was the swimming pool. We spent a whole day in there and could have stayed longer.” The Donnelly’s took also time to say a big thank you to the Give Us Time team for its commitment to getting “some really top drawer breaks for service families.” They said “It’s fair to say that our break gave us the time we needed as a family”.
Wonderful Break in Italy
A great break for the family in Casamaggiore.
My wife and I stayed at the house with my parents and our 10 week old son. The owners were helpful in advance, full of tips and hints on how to get there and where else to explore in Italy; we took their advice and spent a few days in Rome before which was a real treat. The house itself is less than two hours from Rome, in a very small village with few amenities nearby - the essentials are at hand though, including ice-cream and coffee parlours! Nearby villages and the Trasimeno Lake offer plenty of local culinary delicacies, wines and amazing views. Short day trips out from the house include Rome, Florence, Assisi and other areas of Umbria - the rolling hills are a perfect setting to relax and unwind amongst. The house itself is over three storeys, with ample space across three bedrooms, with a large living area and fully equipped kitchen. Another big draw is the private outdoor pool, offering great views and a BBQ area nearby it was a great location for the family to relax around. We had an amazing time in all and have high hopes of returning to the house in the future. It was a fantastic chance for our family to bond and welcome our newest member before I spend a considerable amount of time away from home. This opportunity wouldn't have been possible without the vigour and selflessness of both the Give Us Time staff in finding donors and of course the kind-hearted souls who make it all possible. Give Us Time is a fantastic organisation who facilitate military families having time to re-connect and hopefully they prosper into the future to help others enjoy the same benefits that we did.
Rusere family getaway at Woodhall House
We spent 7 days at Woodhall House over Half term with the children and close relatives. The experience was fantastic!! The owners of Woodhall House were very warm and friendly. We cannot thank you both enough.
Woodhall House is beautiful and breathtaking. The house is immaculately clean and homely. The view from the house is breathtaking and very picturesque in every kind of weather. We absolutely needed this break, As my husband has been away with the Army on several back-to-back tours. The time away allowed us to spend some much needed quality time together. Thank you to everyone at "Give us Time". Your generosity is very much appreciated.
The Shipley family's weekend at Centre Parcs Longleat
We have just returned from our fabulous donated weekend at Centre Parks Longleat.
All of us wanted to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH for giving us the opportunity to spend a fun-filled action-packed time with the family. Dad was able to spend some much needed quality time with his girls teaching them ‘daddy things’ - diving for objects in the swimming pool, taking them out on big bike rides, climbing and golf! Something he hasn’t been able to do for a while. In front of my eyes I could see how this special time with Dad was strengthening the family relationship and we were able to make some fabulous memories that we all will treasure. Please pass on our biggest thanks to Centre Parks for giving us this opportunity - and thank you too to Give Us Time. Positive memories and experiences are so important to us, and I can’t think of a better way to make them happen.
Jo, Paul, Isabelle and Isla Shipley
GURKHA FAMILIES HOLIDAY IN TURKEY
GURKHA FAMILIES HOLIDAY IN TURKEY
I was always grateful that I have the opportunities to visit different corners of the world. I was very excited about the trip to Turkey, as this was my first holiday to a Eurasian Country. On 10th October 2015 the QOGLR team departed from London Gatwick to Izmir Turkey. The flight was delayed and the journey was very long but finally we made it to our hotel at Kusadasi Spa and Golf Resort where the hotel staff warmly welcomed us. We spent the first morning in the resort planning our week ahead regarding our trip and sightseeing. As soon as the sun reached its highest peak we group of 6 people headed to explore the nearest town Kusadasi. We explored the local market and the Harbour where we took a 1 hr sightseeing boat ride. The following day we were visiting Pamukkale (cotton castle). Our journey to cotton castle was approximately 3 hours long but the excitement of the new place and breath taking views made the journey short. As soon as we got to there the giant White Mountain looked spectacular. We made our way up hill bare feet. The higher we got the more beautiful the view was. We enjoyed the natural hot springs with minerals throughout our time there. Our trip to the Ancient Greek city of Ephesus was fascinating. The historical site had a lot of remarkable architecture along with great stories. After our visit to Ephesus we made our way to Sirince, which is one of the oldest villages. This village is very famous for its local wine and food. We took this opportunity to taste and try their authentic Turkish food that was extremely delicious. The last place we visited on our trip was Dilek national park. The park was huge, it had spectacular mountains and beautiful clear blue beaches. It was a perfect place for hiking and picnics. We spent our last few days at the resort relaxing and enjoying the sun. The hotel was fantastic, it had various facilities such as a spa, swimming pools and karaoke nights. Overall I had a great experience and would like to thank ‘Give us Time’ for giving us this wonderful opportunity and the QOGLR Welfare team.
The Trebble family’s trip to Tenerife
Day 1 Friday 25th October
The weather was awful at 1:30am on the way but nothing would have stopped me from getting to the airport!! The children were bouncing around the car with excitement as they had never been an airplane before. We picked up my husband from “The Retreat” in Somerset and were kindly given a lift to Bristol Airport. My husband was more excited than the children and insisted we got there as early as possible! We checked in our bags and made our way to the boarding lounge and waited to be called to our boarding gate. The children nearly exploded watching the planes taking off and landing from the window.
At last it was our turn to board and the children led the way, listening to every instruction from the man on the loud speaker, ensuring we were the first in the queue. We boarded the plane and waited for take-off. The children had already read the safety manual and decided what they were ordering from the menu before all the other passengers had even taken their seats. The captain began his speech on flight times, the temperature in Tenerife and at how many feet we would be. I could see the delight on the children’s faces as the anticipation of take-off came closer. The seat belt lights went on and the cabin crew began their safety demonstration. And then we were off!!! The children sat with their faces glued to the window as they watched the world get smaller and smaller as we rose higher and higher.
To an adult the flight is a necessary but essential part of the laborious traveling process but to my children, I think they would have been happy to have just experienced the flight!! We arrive in Tenerife and as we step of the plane, the first thing that hits you is the humid air and the unfamiliar smell of the country. The children can barely contain themselves and are jumping around like lunatics. A taxi is waiting for us and zoomed us off to our resort. Upon arrival we are taken to our apartment and wow, what an apartment. We had our own private patio with sun loungers and an table, a kitchenette, 2 bedrooms, two bathrooms, air conditioning, the list goes on. We had had a long journey and were all very tired so went straight to the nearest restaurant and stuffed our faces!! We decided to get an early night so we could be fresh for the next day.
Day 2 Saturday 26th October
We woke around 8:30am (a lay in at our house) to the children running around already in their swimming shorts. We decided to go and find the local supermarket and get our supplies. The shop was a 2 minute walk from our apartment and we found it with ease. The children had their pocket money ready and ran around the shop picking the most random things they could find, giant pens, lilos, flip flops!!
We decided to take it easy by the pool and explore our resort. We found the kids club and sorted out the entertainment schedule with the children booking us in to everything. Every day at the pool an entertainer arranged water aerobics, pool football, kids volley ball and quizzes. I volunteered myself for the football thinking other girlies might join in but no I got my butt whooped by a load of over competitive men!!!
We ordered our cocktails and sat back watching the children play the games and make new friends. We had our evening meal in the resort which was wonderful and waited for the entertainment to begin. The snake show started and the children sat wide eyed in amazement of the huge cobra the lady had around her neck. They got to hold them and have pictures taken. They absolutely loved it. Exhausted we took them off to bed to prepare for another exciting day.
Day 3 Sunday 27th October
We had found out the resort had a free bus that would take us in to the local town of Los Cristianos or Playa De Las Americas so we hopped on and went to explore the town. We stopped at a local café for lunch and all the staff there are so helpful, they really can’t do enough for you which is so nice and it’s great to feel pampered!! What seemed like a small town was actually quite a big place, each street seemed to open into another and whichever direction you went you were always near the beach which sprawled along the town’s edge. We stopped for an ice cream and sat at the water’s edge with our feet dangling in living the dream!!
After some shopping, swimming and lots of ice creams we waited for our bus back. After a quick shower we were ready to go again and the children dragged us down to the entertainment full of wonderment of what they might see tonight. The parrot show began and at first we thought we were going to have pictures and get to hold them but then the trainer began telling them to ride bikes, roller skates, they did sums and one of them even fixed a toy car!! The children were so swept away by them it was wonderful to see.
Day 4 Monday 28th October
Today we decided to go to the beach in Los Cristianos. We walked there as it was not far from our apartment and this gave us a chance to have a look around the shops and buy those all-important souvenirs! I bought a Cactus, a tea towel and an ashtray as you do!! The children brought postcards and giant lollypops which they said were for their friends. Of course they never made it home!!
We found our spot on the beach and began the sand castle mission. First things first, we buried the kids!! Then we lay in the sun until it was so hot we had to go for a dip in the sea. The sea was warmer than our pool at the resort and it had a barrier so the kids couldn’t go out too far and there were life guards dotted around. My daughter and I had a rubber ring race which I lost so I had to buy her an ice cream.
We went back to our apartment to get ready for our evening meal and watch the entertainment. We ordered 2 pizzas which were like 2 bin lids and sat down to watch the Michael Jackson tribute. He was amazing he did all the moves and sang all the best songs, the children were so impressed by him as were we.
Day 5 Tuesday 29th October
Today we decided to have a chilled out day by the pool. We stayed in our apartment till lunch time watching the aftermath of the storm in the UK feeling quite pleased that we were sat in Tenerife with the average temperature being 28 degrees!! We wondered down to the pool to meet the children who had been making pumpkins in the kids club and ordered cocktails which were brought over to us with umbrellas in them of course!!
The children played and tried to push dad in the pool every time he dared to move and I burnt my thighs in true Brit style with a lily white hand print on the top!! We decide to have an early night as we had all had a little too much sun today.
Day 6 Wednesday 30th October
Today my daughter and husband wanted to go back in the town so my sons and I decided to stay at the pool as we had signed up for the water volley ball game. The boys had made some friends and played all day in the water and I lounged by the pool feeling the like the queen! When my husband and daughter came back they had brought lots of little trinkets and were both looking a little red!!
We had brought tickets to the Halloween pool side barbecue for this evening and were really excited for it. We dressed up in our finest and got ready to stuff our faces. Almost everyone in the resort was there and we made some new friends who were at our table. The food was amazing, and there was sangria on the tables. We did get a little tipsy and I couldn’t resist the temptation to push my husband in the pool! There was Chinese acrobats there and a film quiz for the adults which of course was designed to make us grownups look like fools, the kids new all the answers!!
Day 7 Thursday 31st October
Our last day and we have decided to stay by the pool and relax before we go back home. This is what the kids loved the most I think as they had made friends and thought the pool entertainer was hilarious! We joined in with the games and played in the pool. This evening we had a meal in the resort again as the food was so nice we didn’t feel the need to go anywhere else. An early night as we had to be up early and get to the airport on time.
Day 8 Friday 1st October- Home time :-(
We were up early and I ran around making sure we had everything. I’m sure we left with more than we came with!! Very sad to be leaving but if we could all live like this forever, what would be a holiday?
The main aim of this holiday was to relax and enjoy some time without the pressures of life at home and that’s exactly what we got. We cannot thank you enough for the amazing gift you gave us and it was not just the holiday, you gave us time to enjoy each other again and we are forever in your debt.
The Cowley family’s trip to Eastbourne
Our holiday by Amelia-may Cowley aged 9 and a half.
We went on holiday to Eastbourne. It was a long journey there but when we got there, I could see the sea for the first time in ages!! The house was really nice and I liked all the plants. It was my job to water them. After we unpacked our stuff we went down to the beach (the lady showed us a secret way) and I found some stones. We found a play park right next to our house too. Then we went back home and had our first go at Uno Dad won!
The next day, Sunday, we got up and headed to the beach for nearly all the day. I swam in the sea for the first time. I also went rock pooling but didn’t find much. Then we went on the little train on the sea front it was called the dotto train. We got an ice cream, I think best ice cream I’ve had on holiday and Mummy got a pot of prawns. We walked back along the sea front we saw a band playing in a bandstand, I liked the music. We went home had tea and played Uno again….. Dad won again!!
Monday we woke up, had coco pops and went to a place called Treasure Island. I didn’t like it that much but my little brother loved it! After that we had a really nice lunch in a restaurant on the beach I had BBQ pizza. We went back to the beach for a few hours and Mummy, Ethan and I swam in the sea but Daddy didn’t. He said it was too cold! We went to the park near our cottage then after we went home and played Ludo and Uno….this time Ethan won!
Tuesday was a whole beach day I went rock pooling and made a friend called Izzy. I found three big crabs, one baby crab and shrimp and sucker fish. We swam in the sea again and Dad did this time too. It took him ages to get in. Later in the evening we went fishing with Dad but we didn’t catch anything just a lot of seaweed. Before bed we played UNO Ethan won again! After having dinner we went to the pub for our pudding and hot chocolate fudge cake in the garden.
Wednesday we went to Beachy Head. It is a big cliff, the biggest chalk cliff in Europe. We had fish and chips in the afternoon and went to the park near us and had ice cream. We also went to the beach and did some fishing. Afterwards we played Uno and Mummy won.
On Thursday we to Brighton pier and I won a lot of toys! In the afternoon we had tea at a pub on the beach and I found some shells. We drove back to the house and we went to sit on the beach till it got dark. We went back and played Uno and this time I won and Daddy!
By Friday morning it was time to go home. I watered the plants for the last time but we got to go the beach until really late. I spent hours rock pooling and had a final swim and an ice cream. On the way home we had McDonald’s for tea and fell asleep in the car.
It was a fantastic holiday!! Thank you!!
My holiday by Ethan Cowley aged 8 and a little bit.
I liked going on the beach and seeing if Dad caught any fish and I liked having the ice cream and going on the Brighton pier. I loved playing Uno! Helen Gardens, the park near the house, was very good. Treasure Island was the best thing there. We were all having a great time together and the best thing about it was we were all together and had family time and Dad wasn’t working at the Army.
It was the best holiday ever, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!
Helen and Ben Cowley
Well, the children have said it all really. Many thanks to the owners of Cliffe Corner, the lovely apartment we stayed in whilst on holiday in beautiful, sunny Eastbourne. We wouldn’t have been able to go on holiday this year otherwise. We cannot thank you enough for giving us that very rare commodity, time!
Mrs Helen Cowley, Ben Cowley, Amelia-May and Ethan.