Families struggling financially, or facing illness, isolation or bereavement, will have an opportunity for a weekend break thanks to a new government fund.
More than 800 holidays and trips for families over the next few months will be funded by the £600,000 'England for Everyone' fund.
The fund will support parents, carers, and young people experiencing difficult times to get away, relax and enjoy themselves on a weekend break in England.
Families who may never have had a holiday can be referred to the charity for a weekend trip and will have a choice of where they will visit. From campsites to chalets and caravans to lodges across the country, children could discover new creatures in rock pools, fly kites for the first time or build sandcastles on the beach.
Referees could include people such as social workers and teachers, and holiday vouchers would be provided to help cover transport, accommodation and food. VisitEngland is also working closely with holiday parks to include free onsite activities.
Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said:
Holidays provide a vital opportunity for people to reset, spend quality time together and improve their mental wellbeing. But for many families taking a break can be impossible.
Following the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are helping families facing particularly tough times to have a much-needed break while supporting our brilliant tourism and hospitality sector."
Research by Family Holiday Charity has shown that short breaks can have huge benefits, with 85 percent of families finding children who had a break were going to school more regularly and 84 percent saying children were less isolated and getting more involved in their community since returning home.
The charity, which has helped more than 48,000 families since launching in 1975, has also found benefits for the tourism sector included extending the season and supporting jobs.
VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said:
This partnership is a first for VisitEngland and will reach sectors of society who don't have access to domestic holidays. We are delighted to be working with the Family Holiday Charity and delivering the 'England for Everyone' fund will support families facing tough times to enjoy our wonderful destinations and experiences and have a memorable holiday in England. We want everyone to be able to take a short family break and benefit from spending time together, reconnecting and recovering from the pandemic."
Kat Lee, Chief Executive, Family Holiday Charity said:
We are delighted to be partnering with DCMS and VisitEngland on this social tourism project that will see more than 800 families able to access a holiday. Access to a holiday is simply out of reach for many UK families, but this scheme will see children, mums, dads and carers able to take a holiday, some for the first time ever!
Holidays bring wellbeing and mental health benefits, and the opportunity to try new things and think differently. On holiday families make memories that help when times get tough. And families who have experienced a Family Holiday Charity break are more confident, better able to engage with learning and play a more active part in their communities."
The fund has been created by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in association with Family Holiday Charity and VisitEngland.