As previous family fund recipients, we decided to give Haven a try with Sam, while he was small enough to be able to push his wheelchair with (relative) ease around a holiday park! 

We selected the Devon Cliffs site, who offer adapted caravans for wheelchair users.

Sadly when we called none were available however the staff assured us that a Deluxe of Prestige caravan would give us the space we needed with the wheelchair.

Erm… let us just say this wasn’t the case! We stayed in a Deluxe caravan, with the WAV parked a short distance away in a designated space. So far, so good.

We were aware that there would be a few steps to get into the caravan so although not ideal, this wasn’t a major issue.

However once in the caravan it was obvious that space would be a problem.

Sam’s wheelchair was too wide to get it through the corridor and into the bedroom; the twin bedroom where he would be staying was too small to use a mobile hoist.

If nothing else however, life with Sam has taught us to be adaptable… fortunately we had brought his air bed with us, so we adapted the caravan.

You’d be amazed how comfortable those sofas are to sleep on!

The site itself was stunning, very well kept and clean. We couldn’t fault the staff at all, who were wonderful with the little dude.

The children’s activities were varied through the week so we decided to try the messy play session and the family bingo.

Again the staff were lovely, however the volume level was apparently set to STUN, many of the ‘typical’ children were finding it far too loud and overstimulating and even the parents were starting to cringe slightly.

After painting, we decided to go on a little adventure looking around the park – although a hilly site, it was easy to move around with the wheelchair, with the shops and cafes etc. accessible via ramps or level access. Big tick there! 

Sadly, the swimming pool was not as successful – while the pool itself was easy access with a gently sloping entry to the water, the changing facilities were nothing short of useless.

The disabled change consisted of nothing more than an empty room with a wall mounted chair; no changing bench, loo or shower.

In the end, as we’d promised him we’d take him swimming we battled into one of the normal changing rooms and laid him on the narrow bench to change him… spot on que, the Dude kicked into a full on seizure – his Dad pretty much spread his arms across Sam’s body to stop him falling off the bench while I had my hand between Sam's head and the wall/bench to save him from cracking his head during the convulsions.

All in all, not a successful attempt.

In fact it was so difficult, that we only attempted swimming once the entire week we were there.

In a nutshell – if you have mobile children then this is a wonderful Park to visit. Sadly if like us you have a child with very severe issues, it really isn’t.

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