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Holidays and respite care

Information about support available to help you to go on holiday.

Helping to pay for 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.

Useful contacts

Alzheimer's Society

0300 222 11 22 
The website has a factsheet that provides useful information about planning holidays and travelling with people who have Alzheimer's disease.

Independence at Home
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 also be provided for holidays for people living with neurological conditions affecting the brain, spine and peripheral nerves. Contact Independence at Home for details of which specific neurological diagnoses would qualify for a holiday grant.

Family Fund
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.

Family Holiday Association (FHA)
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.

Family Action

0808 802 6666
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
Managed by Ogilvie Charities, 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
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)
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
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.

St Vincent de Paul Society
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.

This information was published in November 2016.

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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