First Guests – POPSY charity small group holiday at Domaine du Sourire

29Jun

Woohoo, we survived our very first guests. A group booking filling all 4 of our gites. It was a challenging but wonderful experience which has inspired us right at the outset of our journey.

POPSY (parents of partially sighted youngsters) is a support group for parents and carers of youngsters who are blind, have ‘special needs’ and with life-limiting conditions. It was set up by Tymandra, mum to Arwen Poppy who has a “special” syndrome ‘Warburg Micro Syndrome’, an extremely rare genetic condition (only 1 in 230 million people in the world diagnosed so far). Tymandra says she set up the group to keep herself positive and as an attempt to empower others who may feel out of control or are not sure what to do next and who feel alone.
Tymandra tirelessly works hard to support families of children who are blind, have special needs or life limiting conditions as well as fundraising for and organising day trips, activities and holidays for families.

5 families and 2 bus drivers arrived on a Saturday afternoon. The sun was shining so they wasted no time in offloading their belongings, which believe me were extensive, and headed straight for the cool azure blue shimmering waters of the newly installed “heated” pool.

As they were splashing around and having the time of their lives I received a phone call from my friend in the neighbouring region of Charente to say a storm was heading our way. No sooner had I set the phone down and headed towards the pool to let the newly arrived guests know when the storm suddenly appeared out of nowhere and it really hit us. Parasols blew into the water, pool toys upped and away. As our guests quickly scampered to the safety of their dry and comfortable gites we sorted the pool and things getting well and truly soaked but thankfully managed to avoid being struck by lightning.

What a start to their week and what a start to our new life in “sunny” France.

 

Thankfully the sun did return, and our guests had some lovely outings including Brantôme, Oradour-sur-Glane and Aubterre-sur-Dronne.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This group’s holiday and outings would not have been possible without the amazing JUMBALANCE a cross between a bus and ambulance. How the drivers, Brendan and Gary, managed to manoeuvre it along the, sometimes, very tight track roads in the Dordogne and through the tiny narrow streets of the French villages amazes me.  This amazing bus provides accessibility to people who may not otherwise be able travel. Visit their website and support them in this amazing job they do. www.jumbulance.org.uk

A full programme was organised with morning and afternoon activities as well as evening entertainment, we even managed to bag a celebrity to do the disco nights, we were thankful to Dawn Camilli one of the Candy Stripes (@frenchcandies- look them up on Facebook and Instagram) singers who lent us the lights and DJ’d for us. On rainy mornings the group were able to take advantage of the “games” room which converted to an activity hall by day and a disco by night. Activities included an art workshop and craft making. We arranged patisserie tasting, fromage tasting and a wine taster as well as Cognac v Armagnac, Cidre v Calvados and Fizz v Champagne evenings. We included a walking trip to a local dairy with ice cream tasting.

Disco Divas dancing the night away

Cidre or Calvados? a little tasting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

French knitting with granny wendy

Lets do this inside it’s a bit chilly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last day for this group was truly amazing as it was a special boy’s 9th birthday, he enjoyed a pool party, then some scrummy goodies and a fabulous cake baked by our local boulangerie and finished off with a BBQ. The sun shone marvellously that day and a fantastic time was had by all.

 

 

POPSY – Domaine du Sourire just can’t wait until you’re back again next year!

POPSY is a small charity that deserves support –you can help by sponsoring- sponsor forms are available.
Or if you would like to make a donation, please get in touch: popsycharity@hotmail.co.uk or via Facebook.
Check out their website at www.popsy.org.uk

At Domaine du Sourire we aim to make your holiday as fun and as welcoming as possible. We can work with you to arrange packages for groups. Whether your group booking is for a holiday or retreat we endeavour to be as accommodating as possible to suit your needs. We can accommodate creative writing, artists, wellbeing, business or church/spiritual groups as well as groups of family or friends just wanting a great holiday together. Whatever your needs are chat to us and we can work out a programme of activity with you. And if you are not a group don’t worry each Gite is self-contained; individuals and families, alike, are welcome.

The property: what is unique about Domaine du Sourire # 1

06Jun

It’s time to answer that question that you are no doubt asking as you are searching for that perfect place to holiday, “Why Domaine du Sourire?”

What is it that is unique about these gites compared to all the others?

We are in an ideal location, we have magnificent views, Jackie and Terry live on site and are friendly hosts. So far so good but so the same as many others in the region (apart for Jackie and Terry who are unique!)

So, what is different at Domaine du Sourire?

I believe what is unique at Domaine du Sourire is the space Jackie and Terry have created so you can experience the best time of your lives whether you have a disability or not. It is their passion to ensure that the needs of a disabled child or adult are met as well as the needs of other family members.

One of the biggest differences is the accessibility for people with disabilities. Three of the 4 gites are fully wheelchair accessible, fitted with wet-rooms and specialist equipment is available or can be hired.

Even the swimming pool has a ramp which enables wheelchair users to safely and easily enter the water and have as much fun as others.

Holidays are fun, busy and noisy and fun, busy and noisy. Sometimes a different environment is much needed. The sensory room provides that often needed space to relax and reduce anxiety and stress in a safe place when it gets all too much.

At Domaine du Sourire Jackie and Terry recognise the world is changing and families or individuals who face disability deserve the same opportunities and they are proud that they provide that opportunity at Domaine du Sourire.

What makes Domaine du Sourire unique? The passion and commitment to ensure you have the best holiday experience whatever your ability. Jackie has said, “You are what makes us unique, each and every guest.”