Type Charity offering pilgrimage holidays
Location UK and France
Grant amount £28,000
Date March 2015
Website www.hcpt.org.uk

What the Charity does for young people

HCPT The Pilgrimage Trust is a national charity offering pilgrimage holidays to Lourdes in the south of France for disabled and disadvantaged people from around the UK and further afield.

Every Easter over 1,000 children that are disabled and disadvantaged enjoy a week in Lourdes, staying in hotels with their volunteer helpers (many from the serving community).

The pilgrimage is an action packed week filled with fun and laughter that provides inspiration, enjoyment and relaxation for children that are disabled or disadvantaged; important respite care for the families of the participating children giving them an opportunity to recharge their energies and devote some dedicated time to other family members; and an opportunity for servicemen and women to add a new dimension to their lives and in keeping with each of the Service core values offer themselves as helpers giving dedicated time to mentoring and caring for such special children.

Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity grant

In 2015, HCPT received a grant of £28,000 from The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity. All helpers are required to make a minimum 25 per cent personal donation and actively fundraise or personally contribute to meet the remaining 25 per cent of the total personal cost. The RNRMC grant helped cover the remaining cost for those helpers working with Royal Navy groups and also the Royal Navy beneficiaries themselves. Roughly, the £28,000 equated to £800 per helper and £850 per child to cover the fare and additional expenses associated with induction, preparation, and training of helpers plus expenses associated with holiday and pilgrimage activities for the children.

Sophie and Jess, HCPT beneficiaries

Sophie and Jess 14-year-old girls from Naval families who both have Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The girls are very inter-dependent as they attend the same specialist school. Due to their condition and dependency on each other, both girls are insular and find social interaction extremely difficult. During initial home visits their parents expressed a desire for the girls to spend time interacting with other children and not just amongst themselves.

Recognising the wishes of the parents the group was able to carefully plan activities which would enable the girls to interact with the other children. Throughout the course of the week, the girls were given the space to flourish in their own right. Both girls built firm friendships with the other children and the helpers. By the end of the week Sophie and Jess were less dependent on each and had come out of their shells. Both girls were singing, dancing and reading aloud. The transformation from the start of week was a pleasure for all to see.

Alex, HCPT beneficiary

Alex is a 10 year old boy whose father is nearing retirement from the Royal Navy and his mother is a former WRNS. He has an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with associated behavioural issues. Alex had only stayed away from home once before. During this trip away his parents were called to collect him after only a few hours as the trip organiser could not cope with his condition. This led to the parents being anxious that the HCPT trip would have a similar outcome.

Due to the perceived challenges it was decided that Alex would have two full time helpers. Working alongside his parents, his helpers and the Group Nurse were able to formulate a comprehensive care plan that would allow his highly excitable personality to participate in all of the activities with the other children.

Throughout the week, Alex’s helpers worked tirelessly to ensure his temperament was closely controlled. Whilst there were times where he required a ‘time-out’ he was able to fully participate in all of the pilgrimage activities.