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Angela's Story

Angela's Story

Angela lives in Birmingham with her husband and their 18-year-old son, Brandon. Brandon was born with brain damage which impacts his learning and mental ability. His behaviour can be volatile and it is unpredictable, which makes it difficult for Angela and her husband to manage day-to-day.  

“Brandon has global development delay and learning disabilities, ADHD, autism and he’s medicated for severe anxiety.” Explains Angela. “Recently he had an MRI scan and they diagnosed mild cerebral palsy.” She continues, “It explains a lot of his behaviours and traits and is probably the reason his speech is affected.” 

Daily life is challenging. Brandon functions as an 11-13-year-old, but in the body of an adult, and at 6 feet 6 inches tall, he doesn’t always realise his own strength. His mood can flare quickly and there have been broken iPads and furniture as he takes his frustration out on whatever's nearest. 

We’ve had a rough few months, his behaviour has been quite challenging, and I’ve been at rock bottom.

Angela doesn’t work anymore; she has osteoarthritis and suffers joint and back pain, which can be debilitating. She worked for many years as a support worker and is pensive. As she says “It’s hard. When it’s your own child things are different and everything you learn goes out of the window.” 

Angela and her family take a selfie at the beach, smiling as they look into the camera. There are rock pools behind them, and the waves lap gently at them in the background.

After a permanent exclusion from his school, it took a year of fighting to get funding for Brandon to attend a specialist education school in nearby Harborne. A national college for people with disabilities, it is one of the best colleges of its type and Angela’s tenacity is paying off as Brandon is doing well and has great opportunities. The family were thrilled to find out that Family Holiday Charity had arranged a 3-night break for them in September 2021. 

We were looking forward to getting away from Birmingham and leaving our problems behind

The trio made the journey to Porthcawl in South Wales on a Friday, arriving late when it was already dark. Brandon was keen to head into Porthcawl to stretch his legs, but when they got to the town they were in for a surprise. 

The family didn’t know, but it was the Porthcawl Elvis festival that weekend. As the biggest Elvis convention in Europe, there were wall-to-wall Elvises, tribute acts and visitors dressed in 60’s clothing. 

“It was absolutely brilliant!” Enthused Angela. “I’ve never seen so many Elvises in my life. It was out of this world. The atmosphere was lovely, and it was brilliant to see everyone dressed up."

Angela's family stand next to a group of people dressed as Elvis on their holiday.

Brandon doesn’t really know who Elvis is, but he enjoyed the atmosphere and they sat outside eating fish and chips watching the partygoers have fun. 

The weather was on their side too, walks along the beach and a paddle in the sea and lots of ice-cream. 

Back at the holiday park, the family had a very comfortable stay in a caravan which was right next to the football pitch. Brandon is an active young man and trains every Saturday with his disability football team. He is a striker and he absolutely loves it.  

He’s not able to have much independence at home, but on the holiday he was able to take his football over to the pitch and play with the other kids. It felt really safe and it gave him a bit of freedom whilst Angela and her husband could stay behind and enjoy a cup of tea. 

But Brandon’s favourite memory was playing Bingo; this was played live with other parks around the UK and Brandon got a buzz waiting for his numbers to come up. 

The break really made a difference, just a change of scene where we didn’t have to think about the day-to-day, a chance to take a breather

“I had no worries about Brandon’s behaviour because he was totally relaxed. There was no stress, all the stress had disappeared. When I get stressed at home, Brandon picks up on it and it affects him, so for me and his dad to be relaxed meant it calmed him too.” 

At the end of their stay Brandon didn’t want to go home and he told Angela that he’d like to live there. “We have all benefitted so much from taking a break and we want to say thank you to whoever made it possible.” 

Angela's Story