In May 2019, our Sports and Well-being Programme Lead Nikki took a group of Aspire clients to the Norfolk broads for a truly life-changing trip. Here's his inspiring account of the experience:

Aspire on the Norfolk Broads: Nancy Oldfield Trust

It’s great to be sitting at the end of such an incredible 5 days spent at the Nancy Oldfield Trust reflecting on the past week. It was sunny everyday on the Broads, which I think reflected the group’s spirits. I’m surrounded by inspirational individuals who have had such a great time together. They were sailing, motor-boating, laughing, relationship building and continuing to progress on their truly amazing recovery journeys. 

Recovery is all about trying new things, creating new experiences and building positive relationships. It’s about a sense of community and belonging. It needs purpose, connection and excitement. It’s being comfortable within your own skin and learning to love yourself for who you are. But the best part about recovery is seeing people grow and develop to become the best versions of themselves. For some of the group, it’s the first time they have been on any kind of break or holiday for many years.

Trip of a lifetime

So, we set off from Oxford, all 10 of us tightly packed between a Volkswagen Polo and a Citroen C3. We travelled down to the Norfolk Broads to stay on a residential trip at The Nancy Oldfield trust for 5 days. After we settled in, we all pulled together taking roles and responsibilities. 

During the week we went sailing 3 days and motor boating twice, which was so mindful and relaxing. We spent the evenings sat at a big round table for dinner reflecting on the highlights from the day. We played therapeutic and fun games in the evenings, we sat, giggled, laughed and there was such a great feeling of camaraderie. The group truly bonded.

Lasting memories

Over the course of our lives what really stands out and what we talk about year after year, is real memorable experiences. Things that give you proper belly laughs, things that you never thought you’d do. The group all said that this trip has been a real memorable experience that they will never forget. They are already making plans of what they would like to do next. The group all gained their RYA level 1 sailing qualification. How awesome, they are all officially sailors now. Who’d have thought that eh! The smiles and joy on everyone’s faces when they found out they had all passed was priceless.

Here's what the group said about the trip:

Matthew: “Wow, where to start? I’ve come from being homeless two months ago to becoming involved with Aspire and slightly longer with Turning Point. I have just had the most overwhelming experience with nine of the best people since becoming sober ten months ago."

Paul: “The best focus for me was to take this holiday to get away and re-focus my mind-set and focus on my recovery. Things had been a bit much for me before I left and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to start afresh. I’ve ended up having the best time with some great people. I have also gained a lot more clarity of what I need to do when I get back to make the most of my recovery”.

Chrissie: Having been in addiction for many years (now in recovery) I haven’t had the opportunity to go on holiday, so when I got the chance, I jumped on it. It really gave me something to look forward to and it hasn’t disappointed. I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment. Never been sailing before, so it’s been great to try something new. Have loved being with everyone, it’s been a great bonding experience with the jokes, the love and support we have shown each other. It’s a new life, making new great memories”.