Freedom 4 U Holidays allows those with special needs to follow their holiday dreams

Holiday goals: "They are not clients, they are not participants, they are my guests," says Sue Young. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.
Holiday goals: "They are not clients, they are not participants, they are my guests," says Sue Young. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.

SUE Young’s mission in life is to allow those with disabilities enjoy amazing holidays. 

No request is too tall or too difficult for the veteran community nurse, whose real reward comes in the response from her guests.

“They are not clients, they are not participants, they are my guests, and when you see smiles that cannot be wiped off, well that’s amazing,” she says. “I want to make people feel good and achieve self-confidence in life and they can – you just need to have lots of patience.”

Mrs Young founded her business, Freedom 4 U Supported Holidays, in 2009 after more than two decades working in nursing and in the disability sector.

She was inspired by her former job at Samaritans, working to assist those with disabilities live a supported lifestyle. 

“It was always difficult to get holidays for the clients because there weren’t many holiday providers, and I remember saying, ‘one of my dreams would be to take the hassle out of taking these guys on a holiday.”

Mrs Young formed her business, registered as a provider under the National Disability Insurance Scheme, with the goal of providing guests real choices, rather than a list of options. 

Her guests have varying levels of disability – some cannot speak, some are physically limited – however she and her staff have taken them around Australia and the world, photographing their travels and producing a photo album so guests can relive their experiences. 

Before she set up her company, Mrs Young did a business basics course at the Newcastle Business Centre Newcastle Region, and within a year did its Women In Business mentoring course. 

“By then, my business was getting busier and I needed to know extra things, from management, business planning and admin, to be able to grow it,” she says. 

Mrs Young recently repeated the Women In Business course and found it rewarding: in her initial course the class shared a mentor, this time she had an individual mentor.

“I was at the point where I thought 'how far do I take it, I don’t want to lose its personal touch but the demand is there to grow’, she says. 

With plans to employ people with disability in coming months and further customise her holiday offerings, she said the support from other class participants, alongside the business centre, was priceless. 

“Everyone is in business and everyone has other things on, raising families and so on, and it’s good to know you are not alone,” she says. 

Registrations for the Women in Business program, with a focus on start-ups, close on September 9. Details at businesscentre.com.au