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Paula and Aiden’s story


Paula is a lone parent struggling with depression. She finds it difficult to venture out of her London home, and this has put a strain on her relationship with her four-year-old son Aiden, who always wants to be out and about.

We were contacted by Natasha from a children’s charity, who asked if we could find an opportunity for Paula and Aiden to visit the seaside – something Paula would normally not have the confidence to arrange.

To begin with, Aiden’s 2015 summer holidays consisted of little more than staying home and watching TV or playing outside the front door. But in August, thanks to free travel tickets from National Express, we were able to give Paula and Aiden the chance to visit Bournemouth on the Dorset coast.

On the trip, Paula and Aiden created many precious memories together. They loved spending time on the beach building sandcastles and playing in the water. Paula says the best thing was being away from home, and she will never forget it.

The day out has inspired Paula to start walking further afield and researching activities that she can access for free with her son. For Aiden, it was the first time he had been to the seaside with his mother, and he was impressed by how much she taught him about the sea. They have now found a joint interest in seaside, helping them to strengthen their bond and look forward to a brighter future.