Blackpool’s Amazing Autistic-Friendly Caravans and a Boy’s Quest to Help
Six-year-old boy takes on a challenge his family holds dear by raising money for autistic-friendly caravans in Blackpool.
Alan and Jennifer Berry have six caravans located at Haven Cala Gran on Fleetwood Road that are specially designed for families with children or adults with autism.
Each caravan is different to meet the needs of different families, some having secure bedrooms with made-to-measure secure beds.
There’s also a theme for everyone like Disney, Dr Seuss, Mario, SpongeBob, Rainbow, and Cherry Choice.
Alan and Jennifer opened the trailers almost seven years ago because they have a son with autism and felt there was not a lot of accommodation options for families with children with autism.
They set up the trailers knowing how difficult planning a vacation can be for some.
The concept has resonated with Vic Cherry, 41, of Leicester, who has a six-year-old son named Jacob who has been diagnosed with autism and suffers from anxiety, especially when he is dating.
After finding out about the Autism Friendly Caravan UK Facebook page, Vic has booked the Dr Seuss themed caravan for next year.
The mother of three who takes care of Jacob full time said: “It can really be quite difficult to choose a vacation destination because Jacob doesn’t really like fairgrounds or entertainment.
“Her happy place is the beach, so when I stumbled across Alan and Jenny’s trailer, I thought it was just a brilliant and perfect idea for Jacob as she also has computers that he loves.
“He also loves to sit, relax and enjoy the view. He is very much like a little old man in that he enjoys the simple things in life!
“The caravans are also in a great location as they are a bit on the edge of Blackpool so away from the hustle and bustle but not far from all the entertainment if that’s what you want.”
The idea of fundraising on when Jacob came home last week after completing a sponsored running challenge at school.
Feeling very proud of his achievement, he told his mother that he wanted to do another 100 tours of a local land to raise money for someone else.
Vic thought the autistic-friendly trailers in Blackpool would be the perfect cause, so encouraged by his father, Alan, 35, and his three siblings, they each went out every day as Jacob completed four laps.
The family chose a football pitch for the challenge as the Sileby Football Club is on their estate.
Vic said: “We aim to do about four laps a day, but that can depend more or less on how Jacob is feeling. He can get quite anxious on the outside, so our hearts are overflowing with pride in what he is doing. .
“He’s a little scared of tall buildings, so when he walks past the clubhouse he waits to hold our hands.
“When we first created the page we asked him how much he wanted to raise and he was like ‘a thousand pounds’.
“We set it at that, but I was quietly like ‘we’ll never get that.’ However, everyone was very supportive and to my surprise we passed the target of £ 1,000, so we set it at £ 1,300.
“We want to continue to fundraise so that families can continue to create their vacation memories.
“I told Jacob that dad and I wanted to treat him after his turns for doing such a good thing and helping someone else. We asked what he would like and said he could have n He said a dinosaur toy and a packet of chocolate round buttons!
“He’s such a cute little soul. He never asks or wants anything that makes me want to give the world to him.
“He keeps saying ‘my mind is crazy’ and is amazed that all these people he doesn’t know are sponsoring him.”
Jacob is currently in his 21st round and will complete his final 100th round on June 26 where the Ice Queen and Snow Princess will be in attendance at Sileby Town Football Club to celebrate his achievement.
His father Alan will also dress up as a T-rex for the occasion.
Videos of Jacob’s progress can be found on the 100 laps Facebook page here.
To learn more and sponsor Jacob, please visit the Go Fund Me page here.
To learn more about Autism Friendly Caravans UK, please visit here.
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