As parents of two special needs children our own holiday experiences have been stressful and challenging. In 2002 we decided to try and change holidays for people with disabilities and provide high quality, accessible and welcoming self-catering accommodation for families like ours. It took us 2 years to find Helsey House and its outbuildings. We started work on converting the cattle stalls into cottages in December 2004 and welcomed our first guests in August 2005.
Helsey House Cottages are in the grounds of our home. Converted from original cattle stalls and comfortably furnished the cottages maintain the original features and character of the buildings. Each cottage has two bedrooms, an open plan living area with fully fitted kitchen and a bathroom. The Dairy has a wheelchair accessible shower and separate bath. There is a large play area with trampolines, swings, and above ground pool.
We welcome everyone to our cottages but as parents of two autistic boys, especially families with special needs. We understand that holidays can be a stressful and challenging time for any family. More recently we have welcomed adults with learning difficulties and autism and also the elderly frail and those less mobile and have Mobility Level 1 under the National Mobility Scheme. A carer support package is available.
Mark and I run the business between us and are very ‘hands on’. We strive to provide a ‘home from home’ experience for all, based on what we expect from a holiday, what other families have told us about their experiences and what they would like. Since 2005 we have welcomed back many families each year as well as new ones and to us all our guests are ‘special’. Many families now feel like ‘old friends’.
We are happy to discuss specific needs by telephone or email. We discuss practicalities like level floors, bed heights, wheelchair accessibility, challenging behaviours and incontinence. We are prepared to move furniture to make the cottage more accessible or to take out ornaments, pictures etc if our guests are concerned they might get damaged. We encourage guests to visit with their family member if at all possible so that they can chat and have a look round to feel comfortable with where they are coming to. We will always do our best to make our guests’ stay as relaxing and as enjoyable as possible and nothing will be too much trouble.
Mark and Elizabeth Elvidge
Helsey House Cottages
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