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UK: Hawthorn Brae Grants

EMMS International funds respite holidays for people living in Edinburgh with life-limiting illnesses, enabling them to have an affordable break with a family member. This makes a huge difference to their morale and fills a gap in the services available.

For those living with life-limiting illnesses, respite holidays give a chance to rest, recuperate and make treasured memories.

Family Memories

The Anwar* family have 3 boys, aged 5, 13, and 15 years. Two of them live with a genetic muscle disorder, which means they cannot walk due to weakened muscles and curvature of their spines. They have to crawl to get around. Alongside this, the brothers often get chest infections, as they suffer from reduced lung function. They fall ill so easily. 

Their middle brother, aged 13, is a real source of help to their mother. He helps feed his brothers and care for them, especially when their father is too ill himself to help – he was signed off work when the family first approached the Hawthorn Brae scheme, which added to their already stressful situation.

Their mother has a workload in caring for these boys’ personal needs. Although she has lived all her life in the UK, she was feeling very isolated as all her relatives live abroad. Her support worker said

The Hawthorn Brae scheme awarded the Anwar family a £900 grant to help fund a holiday to visit relatives. Their support worker told us that

“the family were thrilled at how successful the holiday was. The grant allowed them the freedom to visit more places and see more sights than they would have been able to. The children were much more relaxed than at home and seemed very open to new experiences – they tried horse riding, fishing, riding on a chair lift. 

The children saw a sign at the airport about free upgrades for the flight home. They asked if they could have one and were able to fly back business class – they all thought this was a massive treat”. 

Their support worker also said that

“the holiday was a complete break for all the family and their mum thinks the impact was enormous. The whole family had a completely stress-free time away, the children got to spend more time with their extended family and went out with younger adult relatives without their parents which was a real novelty. It helped them feel an independence they don’t normally have at home. 

They really engaged with trying different foods and drinks. The children also really enjoyed being able to wear light loose clothing rather than winter clothes and the climate was a welcome change.”

Support of the EMMS International Hawthorn Brae scheme has allowed countless individuals and families to go on respite holidays. These grants are managed by our partner, Waverley Care.

* name changed for confidentiality purposes.