Kent transport

Families in financial difficulty to be offered free holidays by the government

Families struggling financially, or facing illness, isolation or bereavement, will have the opportunity to take a weekend break thanks to a new government fund.

More than 800 family holidays and trips over the next few months will be funded by the £600,000 ‘England for All’ fund.

The fund will help parents, carers and young people going through difficult times to get away, relax and have fun on a weekend in England.

Families who may have never had a holiday can be referred to the charity for a weekend and will have a choice of where they go.

From campsites to cabins and caravans to lodges across the country, children could discover new creatures in rock pools, fly kites for the first time or build sand castles on the beach.

Referees could include people such as social workers and teachers, and holiday vouchers would be provided to help cover transport, accommodation and food. VisitEngland also works 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 not be possible.

“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.”

VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes commented: “This partnership is a first for VisitEngland and will reach out to sectors of society that do not have access to national holidays. We are delighted to be working with the Family Holiday Charity and providing the “England for Everyone” fund will help families facing difficult times to enjoy our wonderful destinations and experiences and have a memorable holiday in England.

“We want everyone to be able to take a short family break and enjoy time together, reconnect and recover from the pandemic.”

Kat Lee, Managing Director of Family Holiday Charity, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with DCMS and VisitEngland on this social tourism project which will provide over 800 families with access to holidays. Access to Holidays is simply out of reach for many UK families, but this program will allow children, mums, dads and guardians to take a vacation, some for the first time!

“Holidays bring benefits for well-being and mental health, and the opportunity to try new things and think differently. During holidays, families create memories that help when times are tough. And families who have experienced a charity break for family holidays are more confident, better able to engage, learn and play a more active role in their community.”

For more information, visit the government website.