ACROSS is an organisation based in Scotland that provides specialised travel for people who are sick, disabled or terminally ill and cannot travel any other way. The main place of travel to is Lourdes, located in the Pyrenees in the south of France. The main time for travel is between April and October each year and groups book their weeks through Scotland, Outside of these times the jumbo-ambulance is available for goodwill visits, now available for trips to Rome and have also travelled to Germany. The vehicle is also available for day trips to London.
Southend has it's own local group as do many other areas throughout the country. National groups also operate and travel starts in Scotland and can pick up in several counties on it's way to Lourdes.
A typical group consists of 24 people made up with 10 VIPs (people who need care) 10 helpers, 2 nurses, 1 doctor and 1 priest. The group leaves Southend on a Thursday travels overnight for arrival in Lourdes on Friday and leaves the following Friday for travel overnight home and arrival on Saturday morning. Accommodation in Lourdes is at the hotel Mediterannee, a 4 star hotel that is experienced in working with people who have a variety of disabilities and are able to provide assistance usually at the drop a hat along with the three ACROSS staff who are based in Lourdes. Whilst in Lourdes the group will celebrate Mass daily, visit the Grotto and other places of interest in Lourdes and the surrounding area, visit the mountains, take part in the torchlight processions and Sacrament of the sick as well as socialise in the evenings, fancy dress party and of course shopping. Loved ones left at home can be assured that their loved one is cared for and their needs met.
ACROSS groups are always looking for volunteers to travel and although some experience of care giving is useful it not essential as there is usually a core group of care givers and other skills are needed to balance the group. For the VIPs someone to have a chat with, go shopping with, socialising with and helping to record memories of the trip is just as important as for some it is a last holiday/pilgrimage.
Fund raising takes place throughout the year to assist with the cost of travel. Volunteers are always needed in this area too. If you would like to travel, be involved in any way or know someone that could benefit from this journey please see contact details below.