More than 800 families face difficult times to benefit from vacations and trips
More than 800 families facing difficult times will benefit from holidays and trips thanks to a new government fund.
Parents, carers and young people in difficulty will benefit from breaks in England over the coming months.
The £600,000 ‘England for All’ initiative – which is funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – will provide those in financial difficulty with an escape, as well as to those facing illness, isolation or bereavement.
Run in partnership with VisitEngland and Family Holiday Charity, the fund will offer trips to campsites, cabins, caravans and lodges across the country.
Families who may not have had a vacation before – or in more than four years – can be referred to the charity by people such as social workers or teachers.
Holiday vouchers will be provided to help cover transport, accommodation and food for the trips, worth up to £450 each.
VisitEngland will also work closely with holiday parks to include free on-site activities.
Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “Holidays offer people a vital opportunity to reset, spend quality time together and improve their mental well-being.
“But for many families, taking a break may be impossible.
“Following the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are helping families facing particularly difficult times to take a well-deserved break while supporting our brilliant tourism and hospitality sector.”
The government pointed to research by the Family Holiday Charity which shows that short breaks can have huge benefits, with 85% of families finding that children who had a break went to school more regularly.
And 84% said the children were less isolated and more involved in their community since returning home.
The charity has helped more than 48,000 families since its launch in 1975, with its eligibility criteria including low income and other factors such as long-term illness, bereavement, disability, violence domestic or additional care responsibilities.
Chief executive Kat Lee said: “Access to holidays is simply out of reach for many UK families, but this scheme will allow children, mums, dads and carers to take holidays, some for the first time.
“Holidays bring benefits for well-being and mental health, and the opportunity to try new things and think differently. On vacation, families create memories that help when times get tough.
“And families who have experienced a charity break for family vacations are more confident, better able to engage in learning and take a more active role in their communities.”
VisitEngland director Andrew Stokes said his organization wanted “everyone to be able to take a short family break and enjoy time together, reconnect and recover from the pandemic”.