If you have never done anything like this before, I can highly recommend a week in Lourdes with HCPT. I have just finished my 10th year with a group called Jet Set 1, and each year I am both surprised and delighted by how much it restores your faith in humanity, brings people together as equals, and is just the most awesome way to spend a week.
Lourdes is a pilgrimage site, but I’m not religious. The week is deeply spiritual though – and also, a huge amount of fun and laughter. Quiz and cabaret nights, fancy dress, everyone there looks out for each other.
Once upon a time it was deemed a cross between a rugby tour and a pilgrimage – late nights and early mornings, 10 hrs sleep a week. It seems we’ve all grown a little older though, and health and safety regulations have played their part too, so this year was slightly more civilized, still a huge amount of fun and many late nights!
The most important thing about the week is equality. The disabled people we take come away without carers, without parents, they come as our friends and we look after each other all week (this was even more prominent in the very drunken era!) and they join in with everything – there are no barriers. I imagine, and I hope I am wrong, that its the only time they ever get to feel like the world is created for all – not just able-bodied people.
If you’ve never done this, get in touch with me. We are always looking for new helpers and I guarantee you an experience you will never forget!