Frequently asked questions
1. What are the criteria? open accordion arrow
Families cannot apply for a break directly. They must be referred by someone working with them in a supporting role (see Q2 'Who can refer?')
We help families with a child or children under the age of 18 and those who care for them - be they parents, grandparents, carers or older siblings.
Families must be on a low income*.
For most of our breaks families must not have had a holiday in the last four years. Occasionally we are able to provide offers which are suitable for families with more recent holiday experience and this criteria does not apply.
If the family is caring for a disabled child, please see Q10 ‘What about families with a disabled child’
Group trips and days out:
Families must be on a low income*, not be going on holiday this year and be unlikely to afford a day out.
*household income must be less than £24,000 or relevant means tested benefits
2. Who can refer? open accordion arrow
All families must be referred by someone working with them in a supporting role. This ensures we assist those who most need our help and means the families get the support they need to prepare for their break.
Referrers work or volunteer for a variety of organisations including:
- Children / Family Services
- Children’s centres
- Charities e.g. Barnardo’s, Shelter
- Refuges and domestic abuse support services
- Faith groups
- Housing associations
- Community health teams
3. What is the role of the referrer? open accordion arrow
The referrer acts as the point of contact throughout the process. As well as submitting the application, referrers should help the family book and prepare for their break, pass on our contribution towards expenses (if applicable) and ensure that feedback is sent in afterwards.
Families who have never been on holiday may not know what to expect so the referrer should be prepared to help the family with:
- Clarifying holiday expectations and benefits
- Assisting with booking transport
- Booking the holiday
- Preparing for challenges, i.e. managing risk
- Advising about what to expect on holiday, including how to appropriately make a complaint immediately if something goes wrong
- Advising/helping to plan the holiday budget and programme.
Referrers should not make an application if they are going to stop working with the family before the break takes place.
Referrers must provide an alternative contact from their organisation on the application form.
4. When is the best time to apply and how long does the process take? open accordion arrow
We open for applications for Haven / Butlin's breaks on 1st November and remain open until we have allocated all of our breaks. For most of our breaks we normally close for applications in mid-May. The earlier you make an application the better chance it has of being successful.
Applications received in November will receive a decision in early January. Applications made from December onwards will be notified within 6 weeks. Breaks take place between mid March and the end of October.
Throughout the year we will have other types of break on offer. We'll email all registered referrers when they come up but it's worth checking the website from time to time to see what's available.
Group trip applications can be submitted at any time after 1st November, however this year we only have 2 confirmed deadlines due to budget restrictions (see below).
|Applications submitted before 5pm on:||Will receive a decision on:||For trips taking place before:|
|31 December 2016||31 January 2017||31 December 2017|
|31 March 2017||28 April 2017||31 December 2017|
Should budget allow we hope to have another deadline in May 2017 but this is not guaranteed.
Make sure you have enough time to plan and book the trip after you receive a decision. Do not book or pay for anything before you get a decision as we won’t be able to fund all the applications we receive.
Offers will come and go depending on what’s available so make sure you check the website regularly. You should normally get a decision on applications for days out within three weeks.
5. How do I apply and what information do I need from the family? open accordion arrow
6. How will I know if my application has been received? open accordion arrow
If you’d like an update on the progress of an application please email us Grants@FamilyHolidayAssociation.org.uk
7. Do you offer breaks abroad? open accordion arrow
No, the breaks we offer are within the UK.
8. What about breaks during term time? open accordion arrow
The majority of families who are referred to us are facing circumstances that many would consider to be exceptional and in exceptional circumstances a headteacher has the discretion to authorise absence during term time on a case by case basis.
Before a break is made, we encourage referrers and families to approach the school to discuss the application. If the family are offered a break and the school does not authorise absence and we receive this in writing from the school (email is fine) then a peak time break may be offered (subject to availability).
Many of our short breaks can be taken Friday-Monday so a child would only miss one day of school.
In 2014, referrers (including teachers and social workers) saw the following benefits in families:
|Better able to cope with challenges||87%|
|Broadened horizons, experience new places||94%|
|Gained sense of optimism for future||94%|
|Had the chance to spend quality time together as a family||99%|
|Got a break from stresses at home||99%|
|Had opportunity for fun and happy memories||99%|
9. Do you help with travel arrangements? open accordion arrow
We are not able to help with planning or booking travel for families. We often find that travel works best when referrers support families to plan and book tickets. We are normally able to make a contribution towards expenses for families going on short breaks which could go towards travel costs.
Sometimes we receive offers from train or coach operators that could help families have a day out or travel to their short break. Referrers can visit the "Days Out" section of the Referrers Area to see if there is anything currently available.
10. What about families with a disabled child? open accordion arrow
We are set up to help families who would struggle to get a short break from elsewhere.
There are a number of charities and organisations set up to help families with a disabled child get a break. One of the largest of these is the Family Fund. The Family Fund gives grants to low-income families caring for ill or disabled children. They are a government-funded charity and they are able to give grants for lots of things related to a child’s care needs, including a holiday.
We will only be able to consider an application for a short break if the family is not eligible for a grant from the Family Fund. More information on their eligibility criteria is available on their website at www.familyfund.org.uk, or contact them for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01904 621 115.
If you have contacted them and the family is not eligible then you can make an application to us. Please note that if the family has received a grant from the Family Fund for something other than a holiday then we would not be able to consider your application.
If the family lives in Wales and has already had a grant from the Family Fund then we can consider an application. This is because, at the moment, families in Wales can only apply to the Family Fund once.
Group trips and days out
Families with a disabled child can be referred for these.
11. How do I get more information? open accordion arrow
Email: Grants@FamilyHolidayAssociation.org.uk or call 020 3117 0651.