Our dream to give people a proper break: the Nutley Edge story

24th February 2017

"Give me a break!" is what we kept hearing from the people with learning disabilities that we support, and is what sowed the seeds for an ambitious holiday project. This was back in early 2011, when a visit to a rundown self-catering venue in East Sussex led to a dream that has, years later, finally come true.

Nutley is a small village nestled in the East Sussex countryside, twenty miles from Brighton. With its village green and local shop, you really do feel miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city. And just up the road from Nutley you will find Nutley Edge Cottages, a holiday venue with a unique story.

"I had a family bereavement and had felt depressed but Nutley Edge made me feel much better and it gave me a break from home"

It's June and the site is busy. The hub of activity is a trailer decked out with wooden panels and fairy lights, from which the delicious smell of wood-fired pizzas is wafting. A group of twelve people are crafting their own pizzas.

The group are halfway through an Activity Break, and are really enjoying themselves. "I like the games, dancing and singing. I made new friends here" says Susan, a lady in her early fifties with a learning disability. This is the third Activity Break of the year and is exactly what we envisaged back in 2011.

At Outward, we always encourage the people we support to go on holiday. Holidays improve wellbeing and help people to get away from the 'day-to-day'. It is also true that holidays for people with learning disabilities or on the autistic spectrum can be expensive and, in some cases, uninspiring. We heard this so often that we decided to do something about it. Why not host our own holidays?

First we needed a suitable site. As chance would have it, one of our managers, Stuart, was on holiday in East Sussex and, driving back to London, glimpsed a cluster of holiday cottages with magnificent views over the surrounding countryside. The cottages needed work and the site required a major facelift, but we were up to the challenge.

Fast-forward six years and the transformation is complete. The site boasts twelve cosy self-catering cottages and an Old Farmhouse. Most importantly, we are now running monthly Activity Breaks, which are all-inclusive, meaning that accommodation, meals, activities, staff support and transport are all included in one (very reasonable) price. Our main aim is for guests to experience new things and have fun; to get a proper 'break' from the daily routine.

Earlier this year, we welcomed Paula, who had gone through a hard time at home. "I found the holiday very helpful and I made some new friends there" Paula told us. "I had a family bereavement and had felt depressed but Nutley Edge made me feel much better and it gave me a break from home and was very worthwhile. I would recommend the break and felt the whole experience was hunky-dory".

People often talk about a 'holiday with a difference'. How about a holiday that really makes a difference?

Run by a charity for charities

www.nutleyedge.org.uk/venue-hire/

01825 712377 / nutleyedge@outward.org.uk

Our vision is that Nutley Edge is also a place that provides excellent value and opportunities for other charities and community organisations.

Our venue is already used by a range of community and statutory organisations, from housing associations, police and local government to charities such as the YMCA and Alzheimer's Society.

The venue is perfect for staff or board planning events, team building, celebrations or therapeutic retreats. Imagine waking up to stunning views over the rolling fields and tucking into a working breakfast ensconsed in the tranquility of the Ashdown Forest.

We would also love to host holidays for your customers and beneficiaries. Two of our cottages are fully wheelchair-accessible, and staff at Nutley Edge are sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities. Why not come down for a holiday with your customers and their support staff?

The flexible accommodation means you can book the Old Farmhouse, plus as many cottages as required to suit the size and type of your event. Ask us about our special charity rates.

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