Meningitis Now staff member Clara Wiggins

Families affected by meningitis enjoy action-packed Believe & Achieve weekend

Clara Wiggins | 9th August 2019

Laughter, smiles and lots of confidence-building – our Believe & Achieve weekend in Devon brought together seven families for two days of team-building fun

Exmoor Believe & Achieve weekend

One of the families who attended the weekend at the Calvert Trust on the edge of Exmoor was mum and daughter team Lisa and Jessica Goodall from Berkshire. Jessica contracted meningitis as a baby and now lives with after-effects of the disease, including some deafness and concentration issues. 

Lisa said she found the venue had a very “calming and tranquil” feeling about it and praised Meningitis Now staff for the planning of the weekend.

“I personally found the children bonded really well when given space and a chance to naturally build a relationship,” she said.

“It was amazing to see all the children interacting with each other and the confidence they all showed when doing the activities."

“There was lots of laughter, smiles and working together in fun ways to achieve their goals. Through going to these events, the children get to know each other and become friends for life”. 

Like a family

Jessica agreed with her mum and said that her Believe & Achieve friends had become like a family to her.

“Meningitis Now has been a massive support to me ever since I went to my first Believe & Achieve weekend,” she said. 

“The weekend consisted of activities like zip wire, abseiling, canoeing and also evening entertainment." 

“I enjoyed making a mood board and the evenings also gave us a lot of time to get to know everyone.”

Long-time Meningitis Now supporter Joanna Arnold also attended the weekend with daughter Katy. Jo, from Stratford upon Avon, contracted meningitis in 2014 and is living with after-effects that include amputations. 

“We have been taking part in these weekends ever since I had meningitis five years ago and have always thoroughly enjoyed our time and benefitted from them on so many different levels,” said Jo.

“The weekend was full of fun with lots of activities to keep the children interested from abseiling and canoeing to zoo visits."

“I get so much pleasure from just watching my daughter take part in activities and achieve something that she didn’t think was possible."

“It is also lovely to see her be a child - if only for a weekend!”

Quality 1:1 time

Jo added that she saw her daughter grow in confidence as the weekend progressed – from a “shy teenager who holds back” to someone readily joining in all the activities on offer. She added that she also really appreciated the support of other parents. 

“During this weekend I was feeling very anxious about a forthcoming hospital appointment, but I spoke to another parent about my concerns and afterwards felt so much better because I had shared my worries,” she said. 

“The weekend also gave me a chance to spend some quality 1:1 time with my daughter."

“Each time I learn new things about her and I am always so proud of her achievements."

“The weekends offer an opportunity to relax, talk, listen, and have fun with your child which you can hold on to during the more difficult times”.

Visit our Believe & Achieve pages to learn more.

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