Spencer's retreat has evolved as result of us being parents of two children with additional needs. We are a family of five (soon to be six!) and have two children on the autistic spectrum.
Even before the diagnosis of our children we were aware that our family was 'different' to most others and we have had to learn to change our parenting and the way we live our lives to accommodate our children's varying needs.
Both of our children experience high levels of anxiety due to the way in which they view the world and both have experienced time out of education as a result. Our youngest is currently home educated and our eldest is now very happy in a specialist provision. Our youngest daughter whilst she doesn't have any 'special need', as a sibling she has a whole set of needs of her own and we have had to support her in her role as sibling but also carer. We can't do days out unless they're planned with precision and holidays tend to be to the same place each year and are often cut short due to anxiety.
To get our children where they are now has taken years of fighting against cuts to services and budget cuts as well as learning how to navigate the system to get our children the education, support and care that they deserve. As a result we have seen the stress that this can put a family under. We have met so many families that are or have been in the exact same position and we wanted to find a way to support them as well as providing somewhere to relax and spend time as a family.
As parents we wanted to find a way to reduce their anxiety as well as spending quality time together as a family. Our daughter has always been interested in horses so in 2016 we took the plunge and bought her a pony- this proved to be beneficial not only to her but to us all. Spending time outdoors enabled us all to destress, unwind and enjoy each others company without the pressures of the 'outside world'.
We moved to our current location in August 2017 and it really is our retreat from the pressures of everyday life. We now want to be able to open our retreat to share with other families so that they too can experience the benefits.