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Inspirational volunteers

A passing comment from a mother lamenting that she would love to be able to take her disabled daughter on holiday was inspirational to Andy Mahoney, so much so that it spurred him on to develop the current Centre Algarve project in Moncarapacho.

Now, six years later, Annette Courtney from Harlow in Essex, has visited the project which aims to be the first holiday centre in Europe designed for those with special needs and their families.

Annette Courtney said: “This is an astonishing project. There is an incredible feeling about the place and I am totally amazed. When I phoned my daughter to tell her about the project, she just burst into tears.”

She added: “The beauty of this place is that parents will be able to sit and talk about their experiences.  There are so many times when you feel tired and isolated but here you will be able to recharge the batteries in a loving and caring environment.”

Meanwhile, from the other side of the world, Melissa McWilliams from Austin, Texas was also visiting Centre Algarve after she found out about the project on the internet.

She said: “I was immediately drawn to the project as my eldest son Justin has serious special needs.  Two years ago, his younger brother Caleb died and I was determined to honour his life.”

Melissa, who is an auditor with a health insurance company, has taken a two-month sabbatical to volunteer at Centre Algarve.

“I brought his ashes with me and scattered them here as I feel at peace here and I know Caleb would have loved the concept of the project.”

Volunteers from around the world have been working to help complete the unique project.

For further information about how to help at Centre Algarve, please call 962 812 230 or visit