helps many hundreds of families across the country.
We all instinctively know that a break away from home is good for us: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, and research has shown this to be true. But over two million children in the UK live in families who cannot afford even a day-trip to the seaside - far less a simple holiday. The FHA works to help disadvantaged families get that much-needed break away from home. All the families they support are struggling on low income and have not had a break for at least four years – many have never had a family break. The families are referred to the FHA by professionals such as social workers, health authority staff and voluntary welfare agencies.
A break away from home can:
- Improve well being and reduce stress
- Increase self esteem and confidence
- Strengthen family communication and bonding
- Provide new skills, widen perspectives and enhance employability
- Give long lasting treasured memories
- Result in happier, stronger families and a more inclusive society.
Two Breaks in 2010
Among the 2000 families helped to go on holiday in 2010 were the Moores. Tracey has two young sons, Dylan six and Jaydan four. She works hard to look after them but the death of her Mum caused her to suffer from depression. The FHA was able to offer her a week in one of its caravans at Skegness. The boys enjoyed the beach – playing and splashing around - the rides and the arcade machines. For Tracey it was great spending so much time with them, not having to rush around getting things ready; actually eating breakfast together.
95 families take a trip to the zoo – together: 12 coaches picked up 199 adults and 328 children from Medway Schools in Kent and took them to Colchester Zoo. The sun shone,the kids smiled and the parents relaxed. The day was declared a success by all! Theschool’s home support worker praised the day. The headteacher emphasized the quality time that parents and children spent together. And the parents: “The trip took all the stress out of a normal family day out …. My children loved every aspect ….. My husband and I managed a lovely nap (on the way home) … What a refreshing and lovely family day out.”
In 2009 the FHA helped 1,600 families go on holiday; in 2010 that was 2,000 families. Most took one week breaks in a self-catering chalet or FHA owned caravan and in the last week of September 2010 a record 313 families, nearly 1200 children and parents, were on holiday atthe same time! Some families are supported with direct grants to organize their own breaks, and others, who cannot take a week away are supported to take short breaks of three or four nights, as are last minute breaks and group breaks, like the zoo outing described above.
For more information see www.FamilyHolidayAssociation.org.uk