Center Algarve

After being heavily involved in the Special Needs field for many years, and often arranging free transportation for charity fun day trips, Andy Mahoney, the Managing Director of the 24 x 7 Group, was approached by a member of staff, Annette Courtney (Now a Trustee), enquiring if he knew of any facilities that would cater for her fourteen year old daughter whom she had never been able to take away.  Andy soon established that Special Needs Schools, Centres and families alike all struggle to arrange educational trips, find short breaks and take holidays abroad due to a lack of facilities across the whole of Mainland Europe.

Astonished by this and the fact that many main stream schools send pupils far and wide these days, with children discovering many wonderful exciting new experiences, this was just not right. Opportunities should be accessible to all and not only limited to mainstream schools and families. After unsuccessfully trying to find a suitable place for Annette to take her daughter on holiday, we decided that the time had come for change. As always the 24×7 Group would have to raise the barrier so everybody could enjoy holidays abroad no matter what their disability.

 

With the creation of Centre Algarve, we would ensure that not only can schools and centres now be in the position to arrange trips so their students can experience foreign cultures and adventures in a safe environment. But also, individuals can enjoy a holiday catering for all their needs. Our facilities could even be used for rehabilitation and not just holidays.

We have now donated all fourteen rooms to injured service personnel for two weeks a year for the next five years.Centre Algarve is to be accessible to all and that means EVERYBODY. The 24×7 Special Needs Holiday Trust was created as a registered UK charity to financially assist where it could. The trust is constantly looking at ways to raise funds to send people to Centre Algarve for a well-deserved break, turning their wishes into a reality.

Centre Algarve has created a safe environment for everybody to enjoy, a facility which was dedicated to catering for specialist and individual needs.

Our Story

How We Got Started

It all started over five years ago when our founder and CEO of the charity 24 x 7 Special Needs Holiday Trust Andy Mahoney discovered that there was not a single holiday centre in Europe where a family with a member that has special needs, leaning difficulties or physical disabilities could holiday together in a safe, secure and specifically fitted out amenity. He saw for himself that many laid claim they could ‘modify’ rooms or facilities but in truth this often meant that compromise had to be made with beds, shower or bathrooms and other sometimes basic or modest requirements; very often it meant that any interaction with other guests or holiday makers was in many cases almost imposable for the family.

The whole ground floor tiled area made from local hand made Santa Catarina tiles amounts to 11,000 SQ metres of easy wheelchair access. Our gardens have been designed for wheelchair access with some raised beds so you can enjoy them or be interactive and help! The discovery centre is home to learning, conferences, related talks and variety shows all dedicated to ensuring a holiday for a family, group or school to remember.

Where We Are Now

Andy set about finding a suitable building and grounds that would home a new centre dedicated to special needs people he found the perfect place, a virtually derelict family hotel in the beautiful setting of the Algarve in Portugal. It took four years and the dedication of over 480 unbelievable volunteers, to create Centre Algarve. The facts and figures involved are truly amazing, we have laid 18,000 meters of tiles, used 800 gallons of paint and 20,000 metres of cables have been laid, 2,000 ton of cement on our walls alone and cooked 22,000 meals for the volunteers. Our thanks go out to all the volunteers and local people who have helped in our journey.

Where We Are Now

Local products have been used where possible including Patio Tiles made 4 km away by hand, the doors and windows were made in the local village by the same man that made the original ones 30 years ago.

The Centre Algarve is a truly remarkable place that is equipped to support people with special needs including a swimming pool with hoist and relaxation areas, fourteen bedrooms with 2, 3 and 4 people occupancy options with two bedrooms have adjoining hygiene rooms, a petting Zoo and grassed paddocked areas with a meet Meerkat experience, potbellied pigs, goats, tortoises, owls, fish ponds and fantastic array of wonderful exotic birds, a safe outdoor children’s play area with swings and slides and an education discovery centre including soft and sensory rooms, a class room and an American themed diner and kitchen for anyone to teach their skills! Outside it has a sun lounge area were you can freely mix with other guests and friends

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