“Nothing beats your kids being happy”

Taking your children on a fun-packed family holiday is a chance to kick back, unwind and make precious memories together. For many parents it’s something they take for granted.

ScotSpirit breaks

Lisa, daughter Kacey and her pal Makenzi (centre) had the chance to enjoy a break and chill out at the Science Centre (Image: Handout)

But thanks to our ScotSpirit project in partnership with VisitScotland and the Scottish travel industry the 42-year-old, who works part-time in customer care and lives in Glasgow, was given the chance to enjoy a family break with the kids and Kacey’s friend Makenzi Smith, 11.

Lisa, who has been a single parent for 11 years and has battled depression, said: “Nothing beats your kids being happy – it makes you happy.”

She was referred for the short break by One Parent Families Scotland and is full of praise for the organisation for helping her cope in difficult times.

Lisa said: “I don’t think I would be where I am today without the support and advice they’ve given me when I’ve been really struggling.

“They give me that wee bit of positive motivation to be able to carry on.

“I’ve been working for two-and-a-half years now. A few years ago, I would have never thought I would have been able to do that with my depression and struggles.

“They’re amazing people.”

ScotSpirit breaks

Makenzi, Kacey and Lisa enjoy a hands-on experience (Image: Handout)

Lisa and her children got to stay at the Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor Hotel. Their break also included visits to Glasgow Science Centre and Kelvingrove Museum as well as a bus tour around the city.

One in three Scots is unable to take a break and more than 250,000 children in Scotland live in relative poverty.

The ScotSpirit Breaks scheme, which is coordinated by VisitScotland and the Family Holiday Association, was launched last year to help families on low incomes enjoy a much-needed getaway.

This year, the number of families getting a holiday through the scheme was up 67 per cent, with the number of firms donating accommodation, transport, meals and entry to visitor attractions more than doubling.

Lisa said: “To have an opportunity like this is overwhelming.

“I work part-time, and you think you can manage to put a bit away, but you don’t manage when bellies need to be fed.

“The experience was just amazing. My kids still talk about it.

“We felt like royalty staying in the hotel. You see food on these TV shows and you think, ‘That would be nice’, and we actually got to eat it.

“These places cost a lot of money. And I couldn’t have afforded to do the bus tour. It didn’t feel like a couple of days, it felt like a week.

“It really came at the right time. A lot of kids were going on holiday and my kids would have been going back to school and saying, ‘We didn’t go on holiday’, which is quite upsetting for a parent.

“But they were able to share with their friends that they’d stayed in a posh hotel and done all these things.

“I’ve seen a big difference in my kids, just being able to share with their friends what they’d done.”

Lisa also felt the benefit of the holiday. She said: “I didn’t realise how stressed I was until I went away. The first night in the hotel I slept like a baby.

“I think it’s so good. It’s going to help many other families.”

ScotSpirit breaks

The trio let their hair down and had a laugh (Image: Handout)