The Holiday Project is a Scottish Registered Charity (SC030795), based in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, and was established in 1996, by a group of local residents who recognised the need for disadvantaged families in the area to access an affordable respite holiday. Starting only with two caravans based in a holiday park in North Ayrshire, with one part-time member of staff. The Project has grown since then and now owns three 8-berth caravans, one 6-berth caravan adapted for people with disabilities, and employs two part time members of staff, who are on hand to deal with the daily running of the project and the caravans themselves.
The Project provides one week or weekend vital respite holiday break at Sandylands Holiday Park, Saltcoats. The Project’s service is at a substantially lower cost than that of commercial operators, who can charge up to £600 compared to the Project charging £110-£330. The families do not have to pay for their holiday all at once; an interest free “Savings Scheme” helps them to save for their holiday, helping reduce financial hardship and increasing financial inclusion. The low cost involved includes a fully equipped caravan, gas, electricity, and on-site Fun Passes, giving them the whole holiday experience.
The Project is the ONLY one of its kind and is based in the heart of one of East Ayrshire’s most deprived towns Kilmarnock. The majority of our service users suffer from a wide range of disadvantages and deprivation, which include poverty, unemployment, low-income, mental and physical health issues, disability, low self-esteem, and social exclusion. The Project is available to the unemployed/low-income; families, single parents, disabled, carers, organised community groups and those referred by Social Services or specialist schools and other support organisations/agencies. Through our evaluations we know that a respite holiday can make a real difference to the lives of our service users - improve physical and mental health, increase social inclusion, improve financial planning/budgeting skills, and improve family bonding and relationships to name but a few.