Appeal for volunteers to make disabled children’s dream holiday to Florida a reality

The colour purple is synonymous with magic and mystery and is known to stimulate imagination and inspire high ideals.

It’s no surprise then that Caudwell Children, the national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children, and their families, has named their trusted group of volunteers, who wear a distinctive purple uniform, as the ‘Purple People’.

Appeal for volunteers to make disabled children’s dream holiday to Florida a reality
And now the search is on to find the charity a further 32 inspirational, and dedicated, ‘Purple People’ to accompany a group of 25 disabled children on a magical, dream holiday to Florida in December 2014.

Volunteers, from any walk of life, need to be over 18-years-of-age. In return for their inspirational support they are guaranteed to have a life-changing experience, in some the most famous theme parks in the world.  

With 104 children losing their lives each week, and over 2,200 children spending more than 6 months of their short lives in hospital, it’s easy to see why the charity chose to give children, fighting life-threatening illnesses, the opportunity of a once in a lifetime holiday overseas.

The respite holiday, to the Sunshine State, will see families enjoying the magical delights of Disney World. This has proven to be the perfect environment in which families can enjoy quality time together, experiencing, perhaps for the first time, a level of normality in their lives.

Roxanne Hawkins, Senior Volunteer Project Coordinator for Caudwell Children, said: “We urgently need to hear from prospective volunteers. Applications close on Friday 4th April and whilst it would be great to hear from individuals with some experience of working with children, it doesn’t preclude those without. And it’s vital that we have a full complement of Purple People, as without them the trip won’t be able to take place.”

Volunteers need to have a full, valid, passport and will be required to attend a selection day, in Staffordshire, in April 2014. They will also need to attend a residential training weekend prior to departure, in October, and be available to travel from 30th November-9th December 2014. Volunteers will spend nine nights away from home.

Crucial to their selection will be the ability to raise £1,200 towards the cost of the trip.

Jessica Adams, 28-years-old, from Stoke on Trent, was delighted to secure a place on the 2013 Destination Dreams holiday. She has no doubt about the value of the trip. She said: “When I heard about Destination Dreams I knew that I had to apply. The thought of making children laugh and smile, and helping to create lasting memories for their families, was really important.”

Graham Wilkes, 48-years-old, from Kings Heath, in Birmingham, is the father of Jacob, who has Partial Trisomy of Chromosome 3 and Polymicrogyria. It’s an extremely rare condition of which there are no other known sufferers in the world.  Graham, and wife Caroline, had resigned themselves to never experiencing quality time together, beyond their locality.

As Graham explained: “Jacob’s condition limits what we can do and without constant medical support it’s impossible to have any respite. So you can imagine what a fantastic experience Destination Dreams was. To be able to go away as a family, and enjoy the support of a team of medics, alongside the invaluable practical help that Caudwell Children’s volunteers gave us, was life-changing. I think it was the most profound experience that we’ve ever had.”

And Jessica has a simple message for those considering becoming one of the ‘Purple People’ team in 2014: “It was the most amazing experience in my life and I would urge anyone who is considering doing it to go ahead and just do it. It’s what dreams are made of!”

For further information and an application pack please contact the Caudwell Children Volunteers Department on 01782 600443 or email

Applications close on Friday 4th April 2014.