Disabled people or Children Holiday Centre

This is here because of a close Family friend, he told me about this center about 7 months before I put this site together, there is this guy called Andy Mahoney, ok lets put it this way. You read this. It all started over five years ago when our founder and CEO of the charity 24 x 7 Special Needs Holiday Trust Andy Mahoney discovered that there was not a single holiday centre in Europe where a family with a member that has special needs, learning difficulties or physical disabilities could holiday together in a safe, secure and specifically fitted out amenity. He saw for himself that many laid claim they could ‘modify’ rooms or facilities but in truth this often meant that compromise had to be made with beds, shower or bathrooms, and other sometimes basic or modest requirements; very often it meant that any interaction with other guests or holidaymakers was in many cases almost imposable for the family.


Why the 24×7 Special Needs Holiday Trust was formed

After being heavily involved in the Special Needs field for many years, and often arranging free transportation for charity fun day trips, Andy Mahoney, the Managing Director of the 24 x 7 Group, was approached by a member of staff, Annette Courtney (Now a Trustee), inquiring if he knew of any facilities that would cater for her fourteen-year-old daughter whom she had never been able to take away.  Andy soon established that Special Needs Schools, Centres and families alike all struggle to arrange educational trips, find short breaks and take holidays abroad due to a lack of facilities across the whole of Mainland Europe.

Astonished by this and the fact that many mainstream schools send pupils far and wide these days, with children discovering many wonderful exciting new experiences, this was just not right. Opportunities should be accessible to all and not only limited to mainstream schools and families. After unsuccessfully trying to find a suitable place for Annette to take her daughter on holiday, we decided that the time had come for change. As always the 24×7 Group would have to raise the barrier so everybody could enjoy holidays abroad no matter what their disability.

With the creation of Centre Algarve, we would ensure that not only can schools and centers now be in the position to arrange trips so their students can experience foreign cultures and adventures in a safe environment. But also, individuals can enjoy a holiday catering for all their needs. Our facilities could even be used for rehabilitation and not just holidays. We have now donated all fourteen rooms to injured service personnel for two weeks a year for the next five years.

Centre Algarve is to be accessible to all and that means EVERYBODY. The 24×7 Special Needs Holiday Trust was created as a registered UK charity to financially assist where it could. The trust is constantly looking at ways to raise funds to send people to Centre Algarve for a well-deserved break, turning their wishes into a reality.

Centre Algarve has created a safe environment for everybody to enjoy, a facility which was dedicated to catering for specialist and individual needs.

Andy set about finding a suitable building and grounds that would home a new centre dedicated to special needs people he found the perfect place, a virtually derelict family hotel in the beautiful setting of the Algarve in Portugal. It took four years and the dedication of over 480 unbelievable volunteers, to create Centre Algarve. The facts and figures involved are truly amazing, we have laid 18,000 meters of tiles, used 800 gallons of paint and 20,000 metres of cables have been laid, 2,000 ton of cement on our walls alone and cooked 22,000 meals for the volunteers. Our thanks go out to all the volunteers and local people who have helped in our journey.

Local products have been used where possible including Patio Tiles made 4 km away by hand, the doors and windows were made in the local village by the same man that made the original ones 30 years ago.

The Centre Algarve is a truly remarkable place that is equipped to support people with special needs including a swimming pool with hoist and relaxation areas, fourteen bedrooms with 2, 3 and 4 people occupancy options with two bedrooms have adjoining hygiene rooms, a petting Zoo and grassed paddocked areas with a meet Meerkat experience, potbellied pigs, goats, tortoises, owls, fish ponds and fantastic array of wonderful exotic birds, a safe outdoor children’s play area with swings and slides and an education discovery centre including soft and sensory rooms, a classroom and an American themed diner and kitchen for anyone to teach their skills! Outside it has a sun lounge area where you can freely mix with other guests and friends.

Facilities that cater for your every need We have many facilities to cater for your every need including:

Set in the beautiful Ria Formosa Nature Reserve  

Plus just 2 minutes from the pretty local village of Moncarapacho, The Centre Algarve is mainland Europe’s only specialist holiday Centre which is fully equipped to allow people with special needs young and old to experience a wonderful holiday with their family or carers.

We have created an environment where everybody feels comfortable, safe and secure within our wonderful grounds that are fully enclosed and gated. A magical and unique holiday center where fun and memories are created.

The Centre has 14 bedrooms keeping the experience intimate and not too overwhelming as with most large complexes. Whether you are relaxing by the pool or enjoying yourself within our private secure facilities, you will always be able to keep a watchful eye even whilst you relax and unwind in the evening with a glass of wine.

  • 14 air-conditioned bedrooms, 2 with 250 sq ft en-suite hygiene rooms
  • Wet rooms with shower and fold down chair
  • Toilets in every room with en-suite bathrooms
  • Washing machine facilities available
  • Overhead hoist available in hygiene rooms
  • 8 ground floor fully wheelchair accessible bedrooms
  • All lower areas are fully wheelchair accessible
  • Restaurant available for breakfast, lunch and evening meals
  • Discovery Centre incorporating education centre
  • Soft play/Sensory room
  • American themed dinner and children’s kitchen
  • Lounge area
  • Café with outside and covered relaxation area
  • Sensory gardens
  • Children’s safe and wheelchair accessible petting zoo
  • Swimming pool with hoist
  • Paddling pool and therapeutic hot tub
  • Sanded play area with swings and slides as well as a grassed play area
  • The entire complex is securely fenced and gated with CCTV in operation

Even the pool has a lift into it,

The Discovery center is a key asset of The Centre Algarve. It contains a classroom, sensory and soft play room, kitchen and dining area together with a large lounge that can convert into an event area. Outside it has a lovely sun terrace with loungers, tables, and chairs for relaxation and is a great area to meet other guests all within the view of the main accommodation and rooms.

Animal experience

As an integral part of staying with us, all guests can have an up-close encounter with our collection of animals. We have provided a selection of animals, to invigorate the senses and where it’s educational, something fun and different to brighten the day. Our animals have been carefully selected for our programs and we will ensure that they will be suitable for all our guests to interact with.

Swimming Pool

The swimming and paddling pools are enclosed for safety and security.  The pool is accessible via a seated hoist and there is also a small shallow pool for children who are unsure and would feel unsafe in the larger pool. There is also a jacuzzi pool which is both for fun and therapy.

Sensory room

The Discovery Centre has a multisensory and soft play room which allows visitors to experience different light, sound and tactile sensations. The room is available for use free of charge by all of our visitors it will be of particular interest to visitors of all ages with learning difficulties and physical impairments.


At the Centre Algarve, your holiday is as special to us as it is to you and giving flexibility for you to enjoy your stay is so important. We offer you the choice of self-catering or if you prefer not to cook we have an onsite restaurant that will cater to your needs.

Being heavily involved in the special needs field for many years and often arranging free transportation for charity fun day trips, Andy soon discovered that there was nowhere for these children to safely take a break abroad in a facility which solely catered for their specialist and individual needs.

Special needs schools and centres struggle to arrange educational trips abroad due to lack of venues and this is common across Europe.

Andy felt that this is very unfair as mainstream schools send pupils far and wide these days, with children discovering many wonderful and new experiences.

Andy decided that the time had come to change this and raise the barrier so ALL children could enjoy holidays abroad no matter what their disability, and that schools and centres would be in the position to arrange trips so their children can also experience foreign cultures and adventures in a safe environment.

If you would like to contact us, please complete the form below to send us an email. Should you rather speak to somebody please call one of the following numbers. Alternatively, you could write to us:

Lisa McPhee – Charity Events Manager
Tel: (00 44) (0)1279 661661


Belinda Willis – Volunteer Applications & Admin
Portugal Number: 00351 961 917917

Head Office (postal address)
Magnolia Cottage, Green Street, Elsenham, Essex, CM22 6DS, England

The Centre Algarve’s address
Centre Algarve, Sitio Da Fornalha, Moncarapacho 8700-072 Portugal

Email from here

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