A host of local supporters, guests, volunteers and employees turned out to mark the first major milestone at Homelands Trust-Fife recently.
The self-catering holiday lodges, which provide accessible holidays to improve the quality of life of individuals affected by disability, opened in Lundin Links last September and have enjoyed almost immediate success.
It has been a very fast first year and the feedback we are getting is invaluable.Dave Paton
Four luxurious lodges house a wide range of equipment to suit various disabilities complemented by a drop-in centre, catering for meetings, activities and therapies.
Speaking at the celebration, development co-ordinator Dave Paton was delighted at the overwhelming success of the charity’s first year and is excited about the future potential of Homelands. He said: “It has been a very fast first year and we feel that the feedback we are getting is invaluable.”
Dave admits that the feedback they receive can often be emotional and powerful with guests in particular impressed with the level of care given by staff and volunteers.
“We’ve been almost fully booked from May all the way up to November which just demonstrates the demand for projects such as the Homelands Trust.
“The lodges have surpassed our expectations with the occupancy levels and we are gradually introducing new activities to the Paxton Centre, such as the recently launched Let’s Get On project which uses digital technology to reduce isolation and promote self management.”
The centre is a dedicated on-site facility which runs a cafe on Mondays and Wednesdays, as well as alternative therapies, carers groups and exercise classes.
A cherry on the cake of their birthday celebrations, the centre has also been recognised by the tourism industry in receiving two nominations at the Thistle Awards, which celebrates excellence within the Scottish tourism industry.
Up for accolades in the Best Holiday Accommodation and the Innovation categories, the Homelands team are over the moon to have been shortlisted and will compete not just for an award but also the opportunity to represent Fife at the national final in March 2016.
“To be shortlisted for the two categories is phenomenal,” said Dave. “The Innovation award in particular means a lot to us, as we’re we’re trying to advocate an accessible and inclusive attitude and a little bit of innovation can make such adiffrence to people’s lives, ensuring people can actually take a holiday.”