A number of funds exist for disadvantaged families or those with disabled children to help towards holiday costs.
The Family Fund
The Family Fund awards holiday grants to families that have a severely disabled child. Normally, the disabled child must accompany the family on holiday. Grants are sometimes available, however, if the disabled child is in respite care. In this instance, the grant can help towards the cost of a short holiday for the disabled child’s parents, sisters and brothers.
The parent or carer of the disabled child must apply for the grant. The Family Fund then checks household income and the nature of the child’s disability.
The Calvert Trust
The Calvert Trust has three outdoor activity centres. These are at Kielder Water, Northumberland; Keswick in the Lake District; and Exmoor in the West Country.
The centres have activities that are suitable for people with mental disabilities, physical disabilities and learning difficulties. There are no age limits. Specialist supervisors give expert instruction.
Families can apply to the Calvert Trust for help with the cost of these holidays. The Trust awards holiday grants to individuals and to groups.
A family with a physically or mentally disabled person in the household can apply for a grant from the 3H Fund. The grant helps the family with the cost of a UK holiday.
If carers need a break, the 3H Fund can also help. It runs a scheme with volunteer helpers. The helpers take the physically disabled person on holiday as part of a group. The 3H fund subsidises the cost.
Family Holiday Association
The aim of the Family Holiday Association is to help disadvantaged families take much-needed breaks.
To qualify for help, families must be experiencing social and economic deprivation. What this means is that families are likely to have serious money problems. They may also be experiencing additional difficulties such as overcrowding, poor quality housing, disability, illness and depression. Some families may be trying to cope with abuse and violence.
The Family Holiday Association gives grants towards the price of a holiday. It also raises awareness of the way holidays improve a family’s sense of well-being. Such work involves talking to government agencies, councils, doctors, voluntary groups and the media.
Applications for holiday grants must come from third parties connected to welfare. These third parties include social workers, health visitors and doctors. Voluntary groups and national and local charities can also make referrals for grants.
The Association awards grants to the third parties. It is the third parties’ responsibility to help families arrange the holidays. The purpose of the grant is to cover some of the costs of travel, food and accommodation for a one-week stay at a holiday centre or caravan site in the UK. Companies such as Haven and Butlins usually run the holiday destinations.
If a family has a mentally or disabled child or adult, it is probable that at least one member of the household is a carer. The work such carers do can be demanding. The Margaret Champney Rest and Holiday Fund gives holiday grants to carers so they can have a rest.
Applications for a grant must come from a community nurse, social worker or professional health worker acting for the carer.