"This is not a holiday, but a chance for the youngsters to help others and see how they cope with the feeling of abandonment and isolation," explains Julie Cole, head of Children's Counselling Services. For some of the Tommy D members it will be the first time that they are away from their parents for more than a day or two, something which can be hard following the loss of a loved one. "It will be tough for both the kids and the parents, but it will also help them grow," explains Julie, who went on a similar trip with Tommy D in August 2013 to volunteer at an orphanage on Kenya.
Frankie Sleet, aged 20, went on the Kenya trip and is excited to travel as part of Tommy D again. "Going to Kenya was a huge reality check for me. Although I felt prepared I wasn't emotionally ready for what we encountered. The purpose of visiting a developing country was for us to understand how the children dealt with loss and abandonment, as well as teaching them how we have dealt with it," explains Frankie, who lost her farther at the age of 7. "It was tough but we found out so much more about ourselves and our feeling towards bereavement. In Thailand we'll help look after very poor children in a day care centre, while their parents work in the fields. They still have a sense of abandonment, and I think everyone in Tommy D has felt abandoned at least once, so this will test us and our support of one another," adds Frankie.
The Tommy D group, are funding the entire project themselves, If you would like to contribute to their travel fund please call the Hospices Fundraising Team on 01483 881752.
The group will be travelling to Thailand on the 30 July for 14 days.