50 for Free 2017 - Feedback

2017 was the fourth year of the 50 For Free scheme - thanks to a generous private donor - and once again the feedback from the breaks that we received from benefitting organisations was amazing. The power of a restorative break for all seems to have been life affirming and a chance for many to get back some of themselves away from daily life. Groups took part in many activities during their stays last March, from walking, playing games, canal boat trips, fossil hunting, star-gazing, visiting other local landmarks, taking time to reflect, comforting others, self-healing, it never ceases to amaze us how much can be packed into a Landmark stay.

We are all delighted to be able to offer similar stays in 2018.  Below are just a few extracts and images of the time enjoyed by different 2017 groups.


 Children of Fire International  - Aims to restore quality of life for severely-burned children through surgery, rehab, education and self-esteem building. enjoyed a stay at Tixall Gatehouse.

It was a cold and rainy night on arrival.  In the darkness the key was found and then the door and then the ages-worn spiral stone steps and it looked creepy and haunted… and then we stepped inside to warmth and wood and charm… and after a cup of tea we went to sleep listening to the occasional bleat of sheep all around. Bessie and Bayley the big pigs in the field opposite, were a great hit with the children, who fed them endless handfuls of grass. A beautiful setting. Thank you.'


Dochas Carers Centre  - Supports unpaid carers, offering advice, counselling, therapy and friendship to enable them to look after themselves. Enjoyed a stay at Auchinleck House

‘The view of the house when you come up the drive it is truly amazing. The library upstairs was spectacular with 2 fireplaces and comfortable seating.  A room you could lose yourself in.  We had the fire lit in the evening and it was just wonderful congregating and being together.’  a quote from one of the 12 carers who stayed  'My first break in 17 years and I’m going away a different person. I haven’t laughed so much in years. A total relaxation in a fantastic setting, it gave me time out to relax in beautiful surroundings. The memories will last for years.'


 Action for Conservation  - Our Mission: To bring the magic of nature into UK schools, inspiring a youth movement committed to conservation and to the earth. Enjoyed a stay at The White House

We did plenty of fun activities. We went on a long 15-mile walk from the back of the house out to Cardington for lunch and back. We also played various energising games outside the house in between brainstorming sessions and board games and card games in the house in the evening. We would just like to say thank you for a wonderful and productive stay. This stay has had a measurable impact on the work we do, by allowing us the space and time to dedicate deeper thought to some of the challenges and needs facing us as an organisation. ’


 Cambeltown Grammar School - Assists young people with various degrees of additional support needs in a mainstream educational setting. Enjoyed a stay at Saddell House

On behalf of all of us in the Support for Learning Department at Campbeltown Grammar School, I would like to say a massive thank you again to all at Landmark Trust. Despite the last minute changes to the team, the students had a wonderful time. They were again able to enjoy the magnificent house. We had a treasure hunt, tried some fishing, had a fire on the beach, did some geocaching in the local village and enjoyed all our meals round the amazing kitchen table. It turns out that the only time these children eat at the table with their families is Christmas so the sociable mealtimes alone, make this a new, exciting and very worthwhile experience for them.


 Just a Drop - Just a Drop’s mission is to reduce child mortality by delivering accessible, clean, safe water where it is needed most. Enjoyed a stay at Woodsford Castle

“On behalf of Just a Drop, I would like to say a huge thank you to the Landmark Trust for the opportunity to stay at Woodsford Castle. We had a fantastic time exploring the castle and Woodsford itself. We enjoyed cooking together and playing trivia games in front of the fire in the evenings, as well as getting through some bits of work during the day. The Castle was amazing and we couldn’t wait to explore as soon as we put our bags down. It was really great to spend a few days together as a team, thank you again Landmark Trust for making that possible”


 Combat Surfers / Surf Action  - Dedicated to serving the needs of military veterans and their families, especially those affected by PTSD and physical injuries or those struggling to re-adjust to civilian life. Enjoyed a stay at Hawkers Cottages.

‘The week was designed as an armed forces community activity and wellbeing event so we did long walks to Kilkhampton and the surrounding areas, visited numerous local beaches for relaxation activities and more importantly surfed at Widemouth Bay. We also had visits by outside specialists and used the premises for presentations and education. The level of physical activity made big positive demands on everyone and this then helped sustain psychological resilience. We expected to gain physically and psychologically but the improvements were much more sizeable than we had forecast.  They realised they could make a difference to their own wellbeing very simply. One attendee broke down in tears whilst standing looking out to sea on Duckpool Beach and this proved to be an epiphany moment for them" 

 Teens Unite Against Cancer - Dedicated to improving the lives of young people aged 13-24, with cancer and other life limiting illnesses. Enjoyed a stay at Cavendish Hall

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Landmark Trust for the oppourtunity for four of the young people we support and thier famillies to stay at Cavendish Hall. By supporting our charity , you are making a tue difference to young people fighting cancer; enabling them to live the fullest life possible despite thier illness."

From Nicola "I just wanted to say thank you so much for arranging this mini break at Cavendish Hall, it was amazing and we fell in love with it. We had an amazing time, it was perfect in every way, no TVs no Wifi, just ,kids being kids. Thanks so much to Teens Untie for offering us this trip. The kids did not want to come home, they loved reading in the library and learnt all about the house, Abby loved the grounds, Thanks again."


 Petrus - Petrus believes people should have access to safe, secure, quality housing. We exist to support a wide range of people in housing need and develop their skills, independence and choice.  Enjoyed a stay at Stockwell Farm

The holiday was fantastic and everyone really enjoyed the stay at Stockwell Farm. The cottage was warm and inviting and renovated to high standards. We all enjoyed having the time to spend with each other with no distractions and build upon the relationships which are so important to us at Petrus. A warm thank you to Landmark for allowing us to stay at such a fantastic house and the opportunity for us as a group to spend quality time with each other.


 Giroscope  - An exciting new project renovating empty homes to create accommodation for homeless young people. Enjoyed a stay at Tixall Gatehouse

“The feedback from the group has been amazing.  Many of our volunteers have not had the opportunity to leave Hull, or stay in such an amazing building.  Everyone really made the most of this stay.  The weather was amazing.  The views were stunning. We spent most of the week, outside walking and mountain biking on Cannock Chase. The group that attended prior to the trip had not really worked together and so felt that they did not know one another.  The experience brought them together and bonded them in shared memories.  They have formed lasting friendships.  It was very evident on their return that the group dynamic had changed. We support many ex-offenders and being able to hear them talk and laugh about what they have all done whilst being away is priceless.   Thank-you Landmark Trust."


 Startup Online -  We give ex-offenders the opportunity to turn their lives around and earn a successful living, enabling them to become self-employed by offering focused, caring and consistent support, financial and personal, giving a real chance of a fresh start. Enjoyed a stay at Goddards

We could not have had a more perfect place to celebrate Startup's 10th birthday - the space and beauty of Goddards and the surrounding gardens allowed us to talk and reflect and plan for the next 10 years! A wonderful mix of Trustees, staff, peer mentors and women the charity has supported, enjoyed meals together, walks, champagne and cake in front of the fire and taking part in jewellery making, a floristry workshop and lots of skittles! A very big thank you to the Landmark Trust and Goddards for making such a memorable occasion possible. Here are some more comments from guests:

" the house has an incredible warmth to it and one feels at home immediately....I am so grateful and can hardly believe something like this exists"

"felt like a child in a castle!" "I loved the dining room as it brought everyone together. We played hide and seek and the dogs loved running around the garden."

"It was beautiful and my breath was taken away." "Magical! Thank You!!"



New Roots Housing Project - New Roots is a housing project which offers a high standard of accommodation with support to homeless or vulnerably housed young people in Bassetlaw. Enjoyed a stay at The White House

The feedback from our group really shows what they gained from the week. They had a great time, on the face of it, but they were very good at hiding just how much they had been learning until it came time for feedback! Here are some of their comments on what they learned:

  • How to drive a boat.
  • About life in Victorian times.
  • About each other.
  • How to play pool.
  • How to climb Jacob’s Ladder.

And the most obscure:

  • Why coffins are the shape they are!

As for the 50 for Free scheme, a week away for our young people is a very rare thing, let alone one in the fantastic surroundings of one of the Trust’s restored properties. I’m sure I speak for all the organisations involved this year when I say thank you, it means a great deal to us and to the people we work with.


 African Caribbean Carers Group  - Provides services to those with mental health needs and supports thier carers. Enjoyed a stay at Shelwick Court

The news that The Landmark Trust had selected ACCI’s carer’s group to benefit from the 5o For Free award was received with delight. Members agreed to select those deemed to be most in need of the break. The excitement leading up to the visit was palpable as the chance of having a break from caring was so very welcomed. Travelling to the venue through the countryside scenery and the location of Shelwick Court was in itself a wonder for the members, many of whom spent have all of their lives in an urban setting. A

The opportunity provide the space to explore and share caring experiences, (sometimes amidst tears and laughter), provided for peer support and to explore agendas for the group to take forward. Cooking, eating, playing games, laughing together was a world away from caring duties. At times there were expressions of guilt in being apart from their cared for, as often carers can be reluctant to address their own needs. Another issue for many is the stigma of having a family member suffer mental ill health. The space allowed for these and other issues to be addressed.

Many thanks to the Landmark Trust for enabling the experience and the opportunity provided to recharge the batteries of some of the African Caribbean Community Initiative’s carers. 




 Young Womens Outreach Project - Works with vulnerable young women aged 12 - 19 around personal and social development, aiming to increase confidence. Enjoyed a stay at Beamsley Hospital

We have just arrived back from a residential at Beamsley Hospital near Skipton thanks to The Landmark Trust. We applied to their “50 for Free” programme and we got a place. We took 6 young women for two nights each and had a wonderful time. The young women had been referred to our project for a range of reasons, were all very quiet and did not really know each other and we thought them extremely brave for taking part. The house was beautiful - an almshouse built in the sixteenth century for poor women, very historic. We did a four mile walk from the house along the River Swale, threw stones in to the river, saw some wildlife, played “pooh sticks” saw The Valley of Desolation waterfall, climbed trees, got chased by mother sheep with lambs, got extremely muddy, walked over the stepping stones at Bolton Abbey, and generally appreciated the countryside. We had a walk around Ilkley, did shopping and had a pub lunch. We did lots of crafting, made dreamcatchers, friendship bracelets, and knitted on five needles. We cooked( pizzas, pasta bake, roast dinner), cleaned and tidied, One of the most exciting things was fire-making, and trying to keep the fire going! We had pamper time, had nails and hair done, had mud masks, coloured in, and did a jigsaw. The young women were a pleasure to be with, and all took part in everything, and no-one complained. Overall it was a lovely relaxing time and the young women were given the opportunity to do something they would not otherwise have done, and built relationships they would not have otherwise, thanks to The Landmark Trust. (This is a general holiday company for anyone to use with spectacular properties, so check them out!) “What I’ll remember most is the beautiful view and how cozy the house is”.


 Action for Conservation  - Our Mission: To bring the magic of nature into UK schools, inspiring a youth movement committed to conservation and to the earth. Enjoyed a stay at The White House

Action for Children  - From before they are born until they are into their twenties, we help disadvantaged children across the UK.

AKU Project - Transforming the lives of AKU patients; through patient support, community building and medical research

Beatson Cancer Charity - We work to support and enhance  the treatment, care and wellbeing of current, former and future cancer patients and their families.

Brighter Futures Yorkshire - Brighter Futures is a service user led and organised group supporting anyone experiencing emotional and mental distress. 

Cancer Care  - Dedicated to helping  families affected by cancer and other life limiting conditions living in North Lancashire, South Lakeland and the Barrow and Furness area.

Cherry Tree Nursery  - A charity based on horticulture providing meaningful occupation in a supportive environment, aiming to restore well-being to people with mental illness.

Cheshire and Warrington Carers Trust  - We deliver a wide range of local support services to meet the needs of carers in our community.

Children's Hospice South West  - Provides hospice care for children with life-limiting conditions and their whole family across the South-West

Drive Forward Foundaton - Aims to make a difference in the lives of young care leavers. Regardless of background and circumstances, we’re here to help them make some momentum, find their way in the world and realise their individual potential.

Edinburgh Young Carers  - Support and respite for young carers aged 5-20 who care for someone in the family

Emmaus South Lambeth Community  - Provides accommodation, work and support to homeless people.

Force Cancer Charity  - We help and support anyone diagnosed with cancer to offer the best possible treatment and professional support close to home.

Harrogate Skills 4 Living Centre  - We provide a year round support centre where people with learning disabilities can learn new skills, maintain their independence and fulfil their potential.

Jump Space - Provide opportunities for people with disability to participate in physical activity and sensory play.

Little Miracles - Supports families that have children with additional needs, disabilities and life limiting conditions

Marie Curie - We’re here for people living with any terminal illness, and their families. We offer expert care, guidance and support to help them get the most from the time they have left.

Max Appeal - Our mission is to try to ensure that every person with 22q11.2 deletion lives an independent and prosperous a life as possible. 

Merthyr Mencap - Provides a social centre for people with learning disabilities

Outward - We support: people with learning disabilities, including a specialised service that supports people on the autism spectrum, older people, people with mental health issues, and young people at risk.

Rainbow Trust Children's Charity - Caring for families who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness.

Richmond Borough Mind

Rock 2 Recovery - To preserve lives of distressed servicemen, veterans and their families by connecting them to appropriate mental health professionals for emergency and routine help. 

Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability  - We are a charity meeting the complex needs of people with profound disabilities arising from brain injury.

Seize the Moment - Provides social opportunities to communities and improve skills and self-confidence of disadvantaged people.

The Family Haven - A day centre for vulnerable families with children under 5 in Gloucestershire.

The Hero Project - A community interest company that would place people, passion and partnership at the heart of their commitment to community engagement, consultation and education in and around Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire.

WAY Widowed and Young - WAY aims to provide peer-to-peer emotional and practical support to young widowed men and women 

Winchester Young Carers Project - Support for young people aged 8-18 who take on caring responsibilities for an unwell or disabled family member

Wycombe Refugees Trust - We resettle legal refugee families into a safe environment.

Yellow Submarine - An award-winning Oxfordshire charity that believes people with learning disabilities and autism deserve to live life to the full.