A simple break at the British seaside brought this moving testimony from a mother and young daughter.
“I experienced serious domestic assault 7 years ago by my partner which left me with life changing injuries. I almost died. The traumatic experience deeply affected me and my daughter. My partner was imprisoned for the assault and I was anxious about his release. I felt alone with no support. To make matters worse, my daughter’s grandparents also passed away. My daughter was bullied at school and had to attend therapy, during which I also was informed that she has sensory needs on the spectrum of autism.
“I found out about an organisation that could help me through a friend and reached out for support as I was feeling like I would have a mental breakdown. They have helped me to stay strong. It was them who referred me for a holiday. When I was told it was amazing like you are getting away from your problems. I felt joy. I’d never been on a holiday before. It was something positive to look forward to. My daughter was excited and told everyone at school. We slowly prepared for the holiday getting clothes packed. I took a trillion hats!
“I remember sitting by the beach and hearing the seagulls, feeling the cold breeze hitting my forehead and hearing the waves.”
“The holiday and the caravan site was in the middle of a great location where everything was a short walking distance. We went to the three entertainment shows with dancing. My daughter particularly enjoyed playing with slime and the arcade. On the second and third day of the holiday I saw a transformation in my daughter. She got back that ‘twinkle in her eye. I realised at that moment that my daughter was severely depressed. On the third day I felt my anxiety calmed down. I remember sitting by the beach and hearing the seagulls, feeling the cold breeze hitting my forehead and hearing the waves. I was absorbing everything. When we returned home, people commented on our glowing skin even though we went on a short break in March. I am not sure if that was because of the weather or the good feeling we had from going on holiday.
“I felt an immediate positive impact when I returned home. It was amazing having a few days off and escaping from stress and having memories to look back on. When you are dealing with so much in your life a holiday is important for your mental health. My daughter went on and on about the holiday showing everyone her pictures.
“People are in broken homes for lots of reasons. People can’t afford a holiday and need support; someone to recognise that you need to get away and have a break. It felt like a reward, like I deserved it. I am so grateful”
I think that no matter the charts and statistics that academic researchers use to dissect the many benefits of a break away from home, few things are more powerful, more moving, than the testimony of a mother who has experienced at first hand the impact of a simple holiday on her and her daughter.
Last year the Family Holiday Association not only directly helped over 4,000 families from across the UK, we also continued to engaged with a multitude of travel industry partners from holiday parks to national tourism agencies to both support this scale of intervention and to help even more families next year.