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Article published 27/05/2022

Tourism businesses can help unpaid carers and low-income families take summer breaks

More than 500 short breaks have been enjoyed by unpaid carers and low-income families in Scotland, thanks to a subsidised holiday scheme.

1370 people in total have so far enjoyed a short break as a result of the VisitScotland ScotSpirit Holiday Voucher Scheme, funded by the Scottish Government as part of the overall tourism recovery fund.

The Scheme has been supported by 215 tourism businesses across Scotland since it was launched in October last year to provide a boost to tourism businesses during the quieter winter months.

Supported by Shared Care Scotland, Family Holiday Charity and carers centres across Scotland, many unpaid carers and families from low incomes have shared their experiences and the impact that taking a break has had on their health and wellbeing.

Fouzia, her husband and two children enjoyed two nights in the Hilton Glasgow Grovesnor Hotel, where they enjoyed exploring the grounds of the hotel and visiting the Glasgow Science Centre. Fouzia told us - 

It’s just relaxing, you’re away from your routine, normally you have to do this, you have to do that. But whilst we were away, I forgot about everything. About cooking, about washing, about all other things.

At home, I wasn't able to have any time for myself, to think about anything else. So when I went there, I felt I could find myself a little bit and remember ‘Oh, yeah, this is life’. You can enjoy this space, and not all the time be thinking about house things.

Abeer and her family fled Sudan three years ago, and have been rebuilding their lives in Scotland ever since. They’ve been in survival mode but their break, through the ScotSpirit campaign, has helped them to realise they can enjoy this time of transformation too. Abeer talks about how the Scheme has helped.

We’ve spent the past three years just focusing on building over. Trying to get equivalent qualifications, studying, focusing on the kids and we didn't have that good quality time where we are just relaxed, just about having fun and that's all.

I realised during the break that I should spend more quality time with the kids because it really makes a difference. Now we have one day a week which is a family day where we all get together and have fun, outdoors or indoors.

ScotSpirit is an inspiring and innovative project which Macdonald Aviemore Resort is delighted to be part of. We’ve already provided a significant number of overnight stays to help unpaid carers and low-income families feel the benefit of a much-needed break as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.

In return, we are pleased to be able to tap into the government-backed support the project offers to our sector and equally delighted to receive fantastic feedback from guests who might not otherwise have been able to stay with us.

We now look forward to continuing our links with VisitScotland and ScotSpirit throughout 2022 and aim to give as many deserving visitors as we can a big thank you and the warmest Highland welcome.

Iain Miller, Managing Director, Macdonald Aviemore Resort

Tourism businesses and operators have been enabling unpaid carers and low-income families to enjoy some much-needed time to unwind and get a few precious days break from an immensely challenging period and we thank them for taking part.

It's heart-warming to hear the many stories and feedback from those who have been on a break already about the benefits to their health and well-being. It is also incredibly positive businesses were able to benefit from additional bookings through the uncertainty created by the Omicron variant in the winter. We have introduced greater flexibility to the scheme as operating conditions improve, to help businesses get the most out of this opportunity.

Marina DiDuca, Inclusive Tourism Manager, VisitScotland

Who is operating the Scheme in your area ?

Unpaid carers can apply for a break through their local carers organisation. 

Find out who is operating the Scheme in your area on the Shared Care Scotland website.

Holidays help families facing tough times have fun together, build happy memories, confidence and hope for the future.

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