Holidays and respite care
Information about support available to help you to go on holiday
Help with holidays
Help with holidays
Various organisations and charities may be able to offer holiday breaks or provide financial help towards the cost of a holiday or short break.
They include hotels, guest houses, residential care homes, group holidays and retreats run by individuals who have advised us that they are happy to accommodate people with mental health problems who wish to take a recuperative holiday break. Information on travel insurance is provided in insurance cover and mental health.
Details of various types of holiday can be obtained from Tourism for All, which provides information and advice on many aspects of accessible holidays and travel.
Individuals or their family, friends or carers can contact Tourism for All about the sort of holiday they are looking for, and Tourism for All will provide them with details appropriate to their needs.
The service can make bookings at hotels and self-catering establishments, all of which have been inspected under the Government’s National Accessible Scheme.
Tourism for All can also help with foreign travel and provide information about travel insurance, but does not provide insurance cover.
To be revised 2014
Helping to pay for a holiday
Assistance towards the cost of a holiday
If you have a personal budget from your local council for social care, some of this may be spent on going on holiday. Individual local councils will have their own rules to determine how much money you may be entitled to spend. Some local councils also have their own holiday or respite accommodation that can be made available for people in need of it. Contact your social services department for more information.
Tourism for All publishes a guide listing details of charities that may be able to help individuals to meet the cost of a much-needed holiday.
The following organisations may be able to provide financial assistance towards holiday costs in cases of hardship:
The following charities, trusts and benevolent funds also provide grants for people who have experienced, or are experiencing, mental health problems. If the application must be made by referral, ask your social worker, health visitor or a local voluntary agency such as Mind or the Citizens Advice Bureau to either support your application or apply on your behalf. To find out the contact details of your nearest local Mind, call the Mind infoline on 0300 123 3393 or use our search tool to find Mind in your area.
Charities receive a large number of appeals, but can help only a few people. Applications for funding should be made well in advance of any planned holiday. You may need to apply to several trusts, as most will be unable to meet the full cost of a holiday. It is unwise to confirm a holiday booking until you are sure that the necessary funds are available.
58 St Katherines Way
London E1W 1LB
helpline: 0845 300 0336 (8.30am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday)
T: 020 7423 3500
The website has a factsheet that provides useful information about planning holidays and travelling with people who have Alzheimer’s disease.
Independence at home
4th Floor, Congress House
14 Lyon Road
Harrow HA1 2EN
T: 020 8427 7929
Small trust providing financial help to people living at home who are substantially disabled or have severe long-term illness in the UK. One-off grants can be provided for holidays in certain circumstances.
The Family Fund
4 Alpha Court, Monks Cross Drive
York YO32 9WN
T: 0845 130 45 42
The Family Fund helps families of severely disabled and seriously ill children under 16 years of age. The charity gives grants to cover care of the child, including holidays, leisure, driving lessons, and so on.
The Family Holiday Association (FHA)
16 Mortimer Street
London W1T 3JL
T: 020 7436 3304
Helps disadvantaged children and their families by providing grants for holidays and other recreational activities. Families must be on a low income; children should be aged 3-18 years old, and the family must not have had a holiday in the past four years. Only occasional exceptions are made to these criteria; for example, when a family member has a terminal illness. Application must be made by a welfare agent. Application forms can be downloaded from the FHA website. Application forms become available in November of each year, and grants are administered on a first come, first served basis.
501–505 Kingsland Road
London E8 4AU
T: 020 7254 6251
Family Action (FA) administers a wide variety of funds. Help may be given for holidays in cases of extreme need. FA administers the Women’s Holiday Fund, which is for women (i.e. over 18 years of age) living in London, who are experiencing mental health problems or learning difficulties. It is also available to women leaving a violent relationship, and to women refugees and asylum seekers. The fund can provide small grants of between £50 and £100 to women and their children, though not to male partners. However, they do not decline a family if it is their last holiday together because of a terminal illness or other tragic circumstances. Generally, more money is available to children than to adults.
The Margaret Champney Rest and Holiday Fund
Administered by Ogilvie Charities:
The Gate House, 9 Burkitt Road
Suffolk IP12 4JJ
T: 01394 38 87 46 (9.00am–1.00pm; 2.00pm–4.00pm, Monday to Friday)
This trust fund gives small grants to carers. It is primarily intended to give a complete break to a carer whilst the person cared for is receiving respite care. Occasionally it may give grants to couples when the carer and cared for wish to holiday together. All applications must be through a social worker, community nurse or similar professional agency.
The Mercers' Company
Mercers' Hall, Ironmonger Lane
London EC2V 8HE
T: 020 7726 4991
The Mercers' Company is sometimes able to make grants towards the cost of a holiday. The budget for this is limited, so grants, when available, are usually between £50 and £100. Application must be made by a welfare agent, and should include details of the cost of the proposed holiday, and of the household’s income and outgoings. No self-referrals are accepted.
National Benevolent Institution (NBI)
Peter Hervé House, Eccles Court
Tetbury GL8 8EH
T: 01666 505 500
The NBI provides help to people over 50 years of age who are unable to work and are receiving the Disability Living Allowance, and to those over 60 years of age who have retired. Grants towards holidays are rare, but may be considered in exceptional circumstances for beneficiaries of the NBI.
The Salvation Army
Territorial Headquarters, 101 Newington Causeway
London SE1 6BN
T: 020 7367 4500
Applications for grants towards the cost of a holiday should be made at a regional level to the director of the divisional headquarters – details can be obtained from the website, or by contacting the territorial headquarters. People are encouraged to apply for financial assistance via a care worker. The Salvation Army Fellowship of Endeavour (SAFE) may also be able to arrange a one-week holiday, on an annual basis, for individuals and their carers at a residential centre.
The St Vincent de Paul Society
291–299 Borough High Street
London SE1 1JG
T: 020 7407 4644
The society may offer financial help, but only if the local group knows the beneficiary personally. There are no specific criteria to be eligible for a grant, but assistance is at the discretion of the local group. Referrals can be made by social services, churches and other organisations or individuals. Any application made should take into account the overall need for help of the person or family concerned. Applications should include full name, address and telephone number, and should confirm that visits from members of the society are acceptable.
Charities that run holiday break schemes
Charities that run holiday break schemes
BREAK Head Office, Davison House, 1 Montague Road
Norfolk NR26 8WN
T: 01263 822 161
BREAK provides supported holidays, short breaks and self-catering holiday chalets for people with learning disabilities and women with mental health needs.
157 Blythe Road
London W14 0HL
T: 020 7602 7404
The Kiloran Trust provides residential supportive breaks in West London for carers, for a weekend or up to two weeks. The cost of breaks is subsidised by the charity.
46 Allen Street
Cheshire WA2 7JB
T: 01925 571 680
e: via website
Making Space is a charity that helps people affected by schizophrenia and other forms of serious and enduring mental illness. Making Space provides a range of services, with projects and schemes in Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Staffordshire and Yorkshire. The charity organises a range of holidays and short breaks each year in the Lake District and the North of England.
The Mothers’ Union
Mary Sumner House, 24 Tufton Street
London SW1P 3RB
T: 020 7222 5533
The Away From It All Holiday Scheme finds suitable holidays for anyone who is under stress and who would not otherwise be able to have a holiday. Funds are limited, but the Union aims to fund part of the cost of a break. On average, 550 families are helped each year. Individuals can apply, but the application needs to be supported by a social worker, doctor, clergyman or head teacher.
Vitalise Holidays Team, Shap Road Industrial Estate, Shap Road, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 6NZ
T: 0845 330 0149
Vitalise (which was formed from The Winged Fellowship) provides holidays for people with visual impairment, physical disabilities, learning difficulties or Alzheimer's disease, and their carers. The holidays are subsidised,and 24-hour care is provided. Brochures can be obtained from the address above, or via the website.
Some local Minds offer inclusive group holidays for their members, while others offer financial assistance to members towards the cost of a holiday. For further details call the Mind infoline on 0300 123 3393 or use our search tool to find Mind in your area.
Hotels & guest houses
The hotels and guest houses listed below are able to cater for guests who have or have had mental health problems. Some of the hotels listed welcome unaccompanied guests who may need a little extra assistance whereas others prefer that guests who need help of any sort are accompanied. The proprietors ask that you telephone or write to discuss any special needs or problems before making a booking.
Inclusion on this list is not to be taken as recommendation, as Mind is unable to inspect any of the accommodation.
Kingfisher Barn Holiday Cottages
Rye Farm, Culham
Oxon OX14 3NN
T: 01235 537 538
Kingfisher Barn Holiday Cottages offers self-managed, self-catering holidays in renovated seventeenth-century barn and farm building conversions for people with special needs and their carers.
3 Beach Road
Essex C015 1UG
T: 01255 422 822
The hotel has a sea view and is centrally located for the pier and all amenities. Accommodation includes single, family, double and twin rooms. Facilities include a spacious dining room and lounge with colour TV, a licensed bar and a babysitting service. Booking arrangements should be made in writing.
Lodge Road, Pennington
Hampshire SO41 8HH
T: 01590 673 141
Bench Cottage and Little Bench are a pair of fully accessible cottage style bungalows. Both have electric foot and head riser beds and a riser/recliner chair. Bench Cottage sleeps up to four people, Little Bench sleeps two. The cottages are situated between the New Forest National Park and the Yachting town of Lymington in the little village of Pennington. A selection of accessible equipment is available, from portable hoist to shower chairs and walking frames, etc.
Cornwall PL30 5BT
T: 0845 345 1970 (for availability)
Part of Vitalise (formerly the Winged Fellowship Trust), this facility has buildings adapted for different degrees of special need. The centre has its own farm and nature reserve. Respite care and special diets are catered for. Some individuals may have to be accompanied by a carer, depending on the level of need.
Clynfyw Countryside Centre
Pembrokeshire SA37 0HF
T: 01239 841 236
An all-access residential centre that provides countryside activities, education and short-term supportive care. The centre is set on a working organic farm in North Pembrokeshire, and has easy access to woodlands, coastal paths and bird life. Clynfyw also has four accessible self-catering cottages for families and small groups. Care is arranged through a local registered care agency.
Liz and Derek Turner
Penybont, Llandrindod Wells
Powys LD1 5UA
T: 01597 851 951
Maesyfed is situated on the banks of the River Thon in North Wales, and offers respite care for families. The owners, Liz and Derek Turner, have 30 years’ experience in the caring professions. They are happy to provide a respite break for individuals with a disability, but require that people are fully independent, emotionally and physically.
The following centres cater for groups of people, but do not provide holidays or respite care for individuals, either unaccompanied or with carers.
Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Activities Centre
Manor Farm Country Park, Pylands Lane
Hampshire SO31 1BH
T: 02380 404 844
Provides fully supervised outdoor activities for people of all ages with special needs. Groups must be accompanied. Self-catering accommodation is in log cabins, each sleeping up to eight people.
Low Mill Outdoor Centre
North Yorkshire DL8 3HZ
T: 01969 650 432
Situated in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Low Mill offers high quality all-inclusive residential and day outdoor education experiences. All sectors of the community, including schools, colleges, youth groups, families and corporate groups are welcome. The centre has been adapted to accommodate those with special needs and disabilities.
Bendrigg Lodge, Old Hutton
Cumbria LA8 0NR
T: 01539 723 766
This residential centre specialises in indoor and outdoor activities for all people, regardless of ability. A programme of activities is drawn up to meet the needs of the group.
Cumbria LA20 6HE
T: 01229 716 936
An inclusive education and activity centre in the Lake District National Park, with a Christian ethos. Available for groups and family breaks.
Scotland PH22 1QU
T: 01479 861 285
The centre offers a range of accessible self-catering accommodation for groups of six or more. There are also wigwams and tent pitches. The centre offers respite care/short-break activity holidays for unaccompanied individuals (usually with learning/multiple disabilities). Visitors can take part in a variety of accessible outdoor activities.
Penumbra Respite Care
Cairdeas House, 5 Coates Gardens
Edinburgh EH12 5LG
T: 0131 313 5081
Provides residential respite care for adults experiencing or recovering from mental health problems, and short breaks from the caring relationship. Cairdeas House is a safe, homely environment where people can go for a planned break from the pressures of difficult living routines or ongoing ill-health. About a third of bookings give carers and other family members a break from the responsibilities of continuous care. Emergency/crisis breaks where the crisis is of a social nature (for example, in the case of carer ill-health) may also be possible.
Residential care homes & retreats
Residential care homes may be able to provide holiday places or respite care for people recovering from mental health problems. Homes should be contacted directly for information.
Devon EX13 5AF
T: 01297 32611
Silverleigh and The Cedars are adjacent parts of a care home for residents over pensionable age, and are staffed 24 hours a day by registered mental health nurses. Both offer respite care, convalescence after leaving hospital, or permanent residence. A single room is also available for friends and relatives wishing to stay overnight.
Stonehaven Care Group
Mardle House, Mardle Way
Devon TQ11 0NS
T: 01364 644208
Stonehaven Care Group operates a number of care homes across the South West offering respite care. and a range of services.
People visit retreat centres for a variety reasons. Some feel a deep need for relaxation and refreshment, or are looking for a different perspective on life. For others, a retreat is a regular part of their spiritual practice. Retreats offer opportunities for reflection, silence, prayer, relaxation and/or creative activities. Some retreats may have a Christian or Buddhist perspective, whereas others are secular. The retreats listed below have indicated that they are willing to accept individuals who have experienced mental health problems and are seeking a recuperative break. Counselling or other support services are not necessarily provided.
Glastonbury BA6 8DH
T: 01458 831 112
Contact: the Warden (please send stamped addressed envelope).
Of Anglican denomination, the Abbey runs a programme of conducted retreats. A small lay team caters for the needs of guests, but there is no nursing or medical support.
The Ammerdown Conference and Retreat Centre
Ammerdown Park, Radstock, Somerset BA3 5SW
T: 01761 433 709
Offers a full programme of retreats, holidays, workshops and conferences, and also provides facilities for groups wishing to organise their own retreats, conferences and training. There are two self-contained self-catering flats for individual retreats or breaks.
Main Street, Cropthorne
Worcestershire WR10 3NB
T: 01386 860 330
Holland House is a 17th century thatched retreat and conference centre with three acres of gardens running down to the River Avon. They offer a place of peace and relaxation for groups and individual guests. Contact Lucy or Naomi for details.
Trent and Yorkshire
Edward King House
The Old Palace
Lincoln LN2 1PU
T: 01522 504075
Edward King House offers bed and breakfast in a friendly and informal atmosphere in the centre of Lincoln. It offers retreats, quiet days, workshops and study days.
Holy Rood House
10 Sowerby Road
North Yorkshire Y07 1HX
T: 01845 522 580
A holistic and therapeutic healing centre, with a gentle Christian ethos that offers rest, recuperation, professional counselling and therapies for people of all ages. Single, twin and double rooms are available, with full-board.
St Oswald's Pastoral Centre
Sleights, Nr Whitby
North Yorkshire YO21 1RY
T: 01947 810 496
The centre provides conducted retreats, individually guided and private retreats, or quiet time for rest and study. There is no nursing provision. All single and double rooms have hot and cold water and are heated. Full board is provided. Payment is by donation and according to means. Contact via the website, or write to the Sister in Charge enclosing a stamped addressed envelope.
Carlisle Diocesan Retreat and Conference Centre
Cumbria LA22 9LX
T: 01539 432 050
An Anglican Christian centre, Rydal Hall is a Georgian mansion in the Lake District, providing full-board for up to 56 guests, including one fully accessible and two en suite rooms. There is no specific provision for people with mental health problems.
The following organisations and publications may be useful, and the latter may be available in your local reference library.
This website has a comprehensive directory of Buddhist retreat centres, and provides information on complementary health organisations and holistic practitioners in the UK.
The Retreat Association
Kerridge House, 42 Woodside Close, Amersham HP6 5EF
T: 01494 433004
The Retreat Association provides information on a diverse range of retreats across the UK, and publishes Retreats, an ecumenical journal about retreats. A directory of retreats can be found on the website.
Away from it all: A guide to retreat houses and centres of spiritual renewal
Geoffrey Gerard, 5th edition (June 1992), Lutterworth Press
This guide lists nearly 200 guest houses, monasteries and convents. The author discusses what it means to go on retreat, and advises on how to prepare. He states that "practically all retreat houses, monasteries and convents welcome people of all denominations or of no denomination".
Available from Lutterworth Press
T: 01223 350 865
The Buddhist Directory, 2008
The directory identifies the different Buddhist orders, and lists centres in the UK that provide retreats.
The Buddhist Society, 58 Eccleston Square
London SW1V 1PH
T: 020 7834 5858
The good retreat guide: over 500 places to find peace and spiritual renewal in Britain, Ireland, France and Spain and Greece
5th edition, by Stafford Whiteaker (Rider and Co, 2004)
Body and Soul Escapes: Britain and Ireland
1st Edition, by Caroline Sylger (Footprints, 2008)
Over 200 hand-picked replenishing breaks and places to stay in the UK and Ireland, to suit all budgets and tastes.
Charities digest (updated annually)
Provides access information on over 5000 regional and national charities, and other key independent organisations.
Waterlow Professional Publishing
6–14 Underwood Street, London N1 7JQ
T: 020 7490 0049
Disabled Holiday Directory
T: 01457 837578
An information service that assists individuals with finding a holiday in the UK and abroad. Mainly caters for people with physical disabilities and learning difficulties.
Door to door: a travel guide for disabled people
A website set up by the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC). It provides information about transport and advice about travelling for disabled and less mobile people, and provides links to other organisations.
Headway, The Brain Injury Association
4 King Edward Court, King Edward Street
Nottingham NG1 1EW
T: 0115 924 0800
Can provide information on holiday provision for people with head injuries, their families and carers.
Independent Social Work Agency/Heathrow Travel Care
Queens Building, Heathrow Airport
Hounslow TW6 1BZ
T: 020 8745 7495 (9.00am– 5.00pm, Monday to Friday)
Can provide information on flying from Heathrow and related issues, such as medication and travel advice.
Tourism for All UK
7A Pixel Mill
44 Appleby Road
T: 0845 124 9971
Tourism for All provides information and advice on many aspects of holidays and travel, and can make bookings at hotels and self-catering establishments.
A website providing information on more than 4400 UK grant-making trusts, which give over £3.6 billion a year between them. The site can be searched by geographical area, name of trust, type of grant, and key words. Provided by:
Directory of Social Change, 24 Stephenson Way
London NW1 2DP
T: 08450 777 707
w: dsc.org.uk / trustfunding.org.uk