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Cridge respitality offers a night off for families caring for kids with disabilities

Victoria's Cridge Centre arranges about 300 hotel stays annually for families

New parents understand the value of a full night’s sleep, and the same couldn’t be more true for those of children with disabilities.

For 12 years the Cridge Centre for the Family has offered a “respitality” service – a night of relaxation for families of children with special needs. Through donated hotel accommodations and services, parents and guardians are afforded one night away to recharge at a hotel or resort.

“We know that families who have a child with a disability are by and large very overwhelmed and the things they do are 24/7,” said Gyneth Turner, program representative. “It makes a huge impact on families, on their quality of life, on feeling hopeful, on being refreshed. And, if they are married, it gives them a chance to reconnect with their spouse.”

The Cridge arranges about 300 hotel stays annually for families referred to the service and another 100 gift and entertainment packages for parents who aren’t able to go away.

“One of the main comments that I get is: ‘Wow, I haven’t slept through the night since last year’s respitaliy,” Turner added.

“Typically, it’s not a program that has received any kind of government support,” said Candace Stretch, assistant manager of women’s and family services at the Cridge Centre. “We don’t have that core funding.”

To ensure the service continues, the Cridge is collaborating with a Victoria salon in hopes of generating some funds. The second annual Cut-a-thon for respitality runs from noon to 4 p.m. on March 4 at Headstart, 1-1315 Cook St.

The event includes door prizes, a raffle and $15 haircuts. No appointments necessary.