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Advice for families

Families looking for a break open accordion arrow

All applications must be made by someone working with your family, like a teacher, family support worker or social worker. This is to ensure we help those who need it most and makes sure families have someone to help them plan for their break.

If you know someone who might be able to refer you, ask them to visit our website or give us a ring on 020 3117 0651. We have a leaflet available which you could send them or direct them to which explains a bit about who we are and what we do:

To meet our criteria families must be on a low income, have at least one child under 18 and not have had a holiday in the past four years. We do not offer breaks abroad.

Visit the 'Other holiday charities' for other places that might be able to help.

Families who already have a break with us open accordion arrow

The person who made your application is who we contact about your break at all stages of the process.

If you think they have made an application to us and you haven't heard anything yet, get in touch when them for an update. Please note it can take up to six weeks to get a decision.

What to expect on your break

Most of our breaks are in caravans at UK holiday parks run by Haven or Butlin's. These are large sites with shops and plenty of activities for adults and children.

You can find out more at:
www.haven.com
0330 100 6633

www.butlins.com
0330 100 6649

We own caravans at several Haven / Butlin's sites. If you contact them and they don't have a record of your booking don't panic! Bookings in the caravans that we own won't be on their system until just before you are due to arrive.

When you arrive, you will be given free entertainment passes to use at the site, but this may not cover all the activities you want to try. Saving up a small amount each week towards your break could really make a difference towards those extra activities and treats on holiday.

What’s in the caravan?

  • Fully equipped kitchen with a fridge-freezer and microwave
  • Two, three or four bedrooms, each sleeping two people, plus a fold-out bed in the lounge
  • Shower room and toilet
  • Lounge with seating area, TV with DVD player
  • Duvets, pillows and bed linen
  • Cot and highchair (please ask your referrer to request this)
  • Fire extinguisher and smoke alarm.

By law smoking is strictly forbidden in all caravans.

How to prepare for your break

  • Make sure you get permission from school as soon as possible using the letter provided. Don’t forget to book time off work and find care for your pets.
  • Ask your referrer to let the Family Holiday Association know if you have any special requirements such as disabled access or a cot and highchair.
  • Try putting a little money aside each week in a money box, even if it is just a few coins.
  • Make sure a family member or friend knows where you are and has contact details for emergencies.
  • Plan how you’re going to get there and back again. Think about what time you will need to leave the house, how you will get to the station / bus stop and to the site at the other end.
  • Write a list of everything you’ll need to pack and how much money you can spend on each day of the holiday.

Your packing checklist

  1. Booking confirmation
  2. Money
  3. Train / bus tickets
  4. Warm clothes
  5. Towels
  6. Toiletries
  7. Food, drinks and children’s activities for the journey
  8. Swimming costumes, sun cream, sun hats
  9. Any medicines you might need

Your questions answered

How do we book our holiday?
Follow the instructions in the offer letter sent to your referrer. After a booking has been made, you / your referrer will be sent confirmation of your holiday details, which you must take with you on your break.

What happens if we can’t go?
Ask your referrer to tell us immediately if you can’t go on your break. If you tell us more than two weeks in advance you may be able to change the date of the break if there are other dates available.

How will we get there?
You need to make your own travel arrangements. Please check the best route before your holiday. We recommend taking your break within easy travelling distance of your home. Some sites are easy to reach by public transport,but others may require a combination of train, bus and taxi.

If you are travelling by public transport, book as soon as you can for the cheapest fares. For information contact your local bus or rail stations or:

www.nationalrail.co.uk
Tel: 03457 48 49 50

www.nationalexpress.com
Tel: 0871 781 8181

Can we bring guests?
Please speak with your referrer about why you feel this would improve your break. If they agree, they must contact us with the names and dates of birth of any guests. We can only add people to the booking if there is enough space in the caravan!

Tips from other families

‘Supermarkets on site can be expensive. Try shopping before you go away – or visit the local supermarket; they might even deliver.’

‘Start saving as soon as you can. It really makes a difference.’

‘If things aren’t quite what you expect on your break, tell a staff member at the holiday park. Make the most of your time away.’

‘If you have disabilities, make sure you ask about special facilities before you book your break.’

‘Cook in the caravan – it’s much cheaper than eating out.’

‘Don’t take too much stuff. Think about how you’re going to carry it all.’

‘Take sandwiches, drinks and activities for the children on long journeys.’

‘Pack for all weathers. Take more money than you need. Take activities for the kids.’

‘Take a camera if you have one – the pictures will be priceless.’

Please tell us about your break by completing and returning your feedback forms.

Have a wonderful break!

Activity sheets to take on holiday open accordion arrow

Usborne have kindly provided us with a colouring sheet and a seaside spotters sheet you can download and print for your break. These can be found here:

Barefoot Coaching Cards have given us a sheet of conversation starters to help the journey pass!