Throughout TravelAble there are many stories of what makes a holiday special and how to avoid many of the stresses which come along with organising a break, but what if you need some financial help to get away?
There are a variety of organisations and charities on hand to help disabled people, their families and carers have a holiday where they may not have otherwise been able to afford one. TravelAble spoke with two such organisations, 3H (Helping Hands for Holidays) and the Newman Holiday Trust who shared some touching stories about the power of holidays and how they are able to help with funding and grants for people to get away.
Helping Hands for Holidays Help Sarah to Enjoy A Getaway
3H (Helping Hands for Holidays) is a charity founded 40 years ago to enable those less fortunate to have a memorable and fulfilling holiday. With the help of grant-giving trusts, businesses and individuals, they are able to subsidise a range of holidays to enable over 700 people each year to get away.
Sarah (pictured) has been going on 3H holidays since 2008. She has Myalgic Encephmyelytis which is a neurological condition which has become progressively worse over the years she has been going away with the charity.
Her Mum is her regular carer and Sarah lost her father earlier this year after he had battled with cancer and a heart condition so a holiday this year was even more necessary than usual. Sarah is now wheelchair bound and has seizures. In her own words this is what getting away for a week each year means to her.
“To me, getting away with 3H Fund is far more than a holiday, it has helped me to see that there is life after disability. Looking back over the years I have had such amazing weeks of activities, full of fun, laughter but most importantly friends. In particular I enjoy the wheelchair abseiling, the crabbing we did in Devon and going to the beach.
The charity may be small in size, but the difference 3H makes is immeasurable. I could write a thousand words to describe the impact they have on people’s lives, but sometimes saying less speaks far more and I just want you to know 3H have changed mine.”
The 3H Grant Programme reopens on 4th January 2016. If you hold proof of your disability and are in a low income bracket (< £30,000 household) then you may be eligible.
The Newman Trust: Helping Children & Families Alike
“We provide holidays for over 100 children every year,” Newman Trust holidays manager Rob Nestor tells Able, “we have hundreds of stories about just how much short breaks mean to children with disabilities and their families. The difference in the children has been noticed by parents, siblings, and carers.”
In fact, since it was founded in 1981, this entirely voluntary organisation has been creating a positive impact. Schools often contact the Trust to tell them just how much children have benefitted from the holidays, making huge leaps in self-confidence, cognitive ability and communication. Rob shared two letters with us to show the benefit of the trust to both families and the kids themselves.
Quality Time For Families
Lisa wrote to the Trust to thank them for providing a holiday for her daughter Ruby. She describes Ruby as being very demanding on her time due to her disability, meaning that – as a single parent – she has precious little time to spend with her other daughter Ella.
With this difficulty in dividing her time between her two children, Lisa found that in the week where Ruby was away enjoying a fantastic break with the Newman Trust, she was able to spend some valuable time with Ella. This allowed them to go sightseeing in London, something which would have been incredibly difficult due to Ruby’s disability but was something Ella had always wanted to do.
She concluded her letter offering thanks to the volunteers who make these holidays possible, offer a fantastic experience for disabled children, and provide much needed respite to more than one hundred families every year.
Fantastic Experience For Kids
A holiday organiser for the Trust wrote to share the story of Amaanat, a young man who was lucky enough to go on four holidays with the Newman Trust. His disability was complex and required a variety of different equipment and medicines and his school had described him as withdrawn and suffering from depression as a result of chronic pain brought about by his condition.
However, during his holidays with the Newman Trust holidays he came alive and thrived on the atmosphere that a vibrant community of like-minded people created. According to the organisers he would hold court at bedtime, cracking jokes and astounded them all with his dry humour. He helped write, and took a lead role in a pantomime and even asked to conduct the evening assembly one evening. When a group of over excited helpers broke out into an embarrassing street dance in the cinema after watching ‘Step Up’ he apologised to the entire theatre, joking “It’s okay, they’re all on medication!”
When he left on the final day a group of helpers formed an archway for him to walk through and raised the roof with cheers. For that one moment, he felt like a superstar.
The organiser goes on to describe Amaanat as one of the bravest and most dignified children they have ever had the pleasure to know. Unfortunately he passed away recently aged only 19 but his family told the Trust that their son’s holidays with them had been the best times of his entire life and the only times that he had felt truly happy. For anyone with any doubt as to the power of a holiday with people who truly care, this must surely allay them.
The Newman Holiday Trust accept recommendations for disabled and ASN children through their website and these applications are usually considered between January and April for children within their catchment area.
Finding The Right Grant
There are a great many organisations which offer grants, partial funding and full accommodation services for all circumstances but they can be difficult to find. If you’re interested in finding organisations who can help you, or someone in your life have the break they deserve then an excellent starting point is Julia Tyrrell’s website DisabilityGrants.org.
The site lists helpful grants along with their qualifying criteria and is exceptionally easy to navigate.