There’s no getting around the fact that children are expensive. In 2015, it was estimated that parents spend up to £230,000 raising a child to the age of 21. For families on low incomes, or those put under extra pressure because of an infant’s disability or illness, costs can spiral and just making ends meet might seem impossible. Going on holiday, therefore, might seem like a stretch of the imagination too far.
If you’re in such a position and are desperate to treat your family to a break but have no financial means to do so, there’s a variety of help on offer. Many charities across the UK offer holiday grants for disabled children, and if you know where to look, you can get kids holidays for a fraction of the price. You might even be able to find vouchers or grants that can be put towards getting away, offering the entire family a chance to refresh and recharge themselves.
If you need help with funding a holiday, then consider the following charities, both of which might be able to provide exactly what you’re looking for.
Make A Wish Foundation
Make A Wish Foundation UK’s objective is clear; help to make the dreams come true of children and youngsters who are struggling with life threatening illnesses. This doesn’t have to necessarily be a holiday, but could be an experience or the chance to meet their idol. Since being founded in 1986, the charity has granted more than 8,100 wishes to children and given them the time of their lives.
If you need help with funding for a much dreamt of holiday so your family can enjoy a getaway, Make A Wish Foundation might be the ideal choice.
The Family Fund
The Family Fund was developed as a way to provide help where it’s most needed; in this case, offering financial support to families with low incomes and severely disabled children. The organisation offers grants for a wide variety of things like computers, hospital visiting costs and even white goods like washing machines. They also provide a range of options for special needs holidays in the UK.
If you have a seriously ill child or a youngster with a severe disability who’s under the age of 17, you can apply as long as you meet the following criteria.
- You live in Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland
- You are the carer or parent of a seriously ill or severely disabled child
- You have lived in the UK for six months and have permanent legal residency
- You receive one of the following benefits; Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Universal Credit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Employment Support Allowance or Incapacity Benefit.
If you don’t receive any of these benefits you may still be able to apply for grant, but the Family Fund will need further details of your household’s income.
Provided the Family Fund can help fund your holiday, you’re likely to be offered one of a number of getaway options, including Butlin’s, Haven and Travel by Inspire.
Working in partnership with the Family Fund, Butlin’s have a dedicated team who can help low income families with special requirements to organise a holiday. Butlin’s Kids is dedicated to ensuring the entire family has a great break. When you’re awarded your grant, you have nine months to use the money, with any funds left over returned to the Family Fund.
When booking your holiday, the child applied for and their main carer must be taking the holiday. Other family members and carers can also enjoy the break. Up to £100 of the grant can be converted into ‘spend vouchers’ so you can pay for shopping, dining out and other activities whilst you’re away. The rest of the money will remain in your account and will be returned to the Family Fund if it’s not used within the nine months.
- Haven Holidays
Another great option if you’re looking for a kids holiday in the UK is to enjoy a break with Haven. Like Butlin’s, Haven have a dedicated team to help book your getaway and ensure you have everything you need. Whether you want to use your Haven holidays payments for a beachside break or to enjoy a few days near beautiful hills is completely up to you.
Your travelling party needs to include the child you applied for and the main carer. Extra carers or family members can also be included in the booking. Like Butlin’s, up to £100 can be converted into ‘spend vouchers’, or you can choose to keep the money in your account for later.
If you don’t get awarded a family break, there is still the chance to save money on holidays with Haven. You may qualify for a 10per cent discount during term time and 5per cent throughout the UK’s national school breaks and bank holiday dates.
- Travel by Inspire
The third organisation working with the Family Fund to offer holidays is Travel by Inspire. Working with more than 300 tour operators and agencies, Travel by Inspire offer a huge variety of UK getaways, and even options to go abroad. All bookings must include the main carer and the child applied for, though other family members can be added too.
When you’re awarded a Travel by Inspire break, you’ll be sent a Family Breaks & Travel card through the post. You can then use this to make your booking, either by phone, in-store or online. You can also access Center Parcs through Travel by Inspire, but because the organisation doesn’t have a direct contact with the Family Fund, additional booking fees will be added.
Looking after a severely ill or disabled child can be a struggle at the best of times, so it’s important to take regular holidays and breaks when needed. If you can’t afford a getaway, then don’t despair; by turning to organisations like Family Fund and Make A Wish Foundation you can have a dream trip without the costly expense.