Living with limited mobility can be a heavy burden on your finances; living aids, mobility scooters, home improvements to make your property accessible, all of these things provide much needed independence in daily life but can also be very costly, even with discounts and benefits. As a result of their desperate financial situation, many disabled individuals across the UK will struggle to go on even one holiday in their lifetime. If you recognise this struggle yourself, read on to discover potential opportunities to get disabled holiday grants and subsidies for your much needed break.
Charities supporting disabled people receive a lot of applications for disabled holiday grants and bursaries. It’s best to apply to several different organisations and do this well in advance of when you would like to go away; not only does this give you time to go through the application process, it also means that you aren’t relying on one specific trust who could hit their maximum funding level. Some of the national organisations who offer grants include:
The Multiple Sclerosis Society is the UK’s biggest MS charity which funds research into the disease as well as providing support, information, treatment, and other vital services to people living with MS. Their Health and Wellbeing Grant can offer a maximum of £600 towards a holiday, however, be aware that the society may not always be able to award at this maximum level. You can apply for the Health and Wellbeing Grant if you are a UK resident living with MS or you care for an individual living with MS and you have not had a holiday within the past three years.
You’ll need to complete an application form and submit by one of the following deadline dates. The team endeavour to let you know the outcome of a small grant application (a grant for less than £500) within three weeks:
- Friday 11th May 2018
- Friday 13th July 2018
- Friday 7th September 2018
- Friday 9th November 2018
Important – please be patient; don’t try to chase your application as this may just delay the process. The team will acknowledge your application after five working days and will request more information from you if necessary. They will also let you know when you can next expect to hear from them regarding the outcome of your application.
Disability Aid Trust
Established in 1981, the Disability Aid Trust helps individuals with severe disabilities to go on holiday by contributing towards the cost of helpers. This also means that the permanent carers of disabled individuals can enjoy a period of respite from their daily responsibilities.
The deadlines for applications are the 1st February for summer holidays and the 1st August for winter holidays. Please be aware that you’ll need an endorsement from a bona fide organisation or a social/healthcare professional. You can either download an application form or request one by emailing the DAT at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bruce Wake Charitable Trust
The Bruce Wake Charitable Trust offers riverboat holidays on their Charlotte III canal boat which has been specially designed to accommodate wheelchair users. The Trust aims to provide better access to leisure activities for wheelchair users and will award up to £2,000 to an individual once in a two year period. You’ll need to make your application though a charitable organisation or healthcare/social professional and provide appropriate financial information. Begin by submitting a preliminary grant application and submit this along with a letter of support from an approved organisation or person.
Localised charities often fall under the radar when it comes to researching what disabled holiday grants may be available to you, however, these small organisations can sometimes offer that much needed financial help. Speak to the Citizens Advice Bureau to find out more about local charities in your area who are dedicated to helping physically disabled individuals. Examples of organisations offering grants to local residents include:
Barnwood Trust is a registered charity serving the disabled community within the Gloucestershire area. Their dedicated Wellbeing Fund can contribute between £50 and £1,000 towards a holiday in the UK provided that you are a Gloucestershire resident, have a long-term disability which impacts your quality of life, and would struggle to fund it yourself.
To apply for the grant you will need to download or request an application form and all applications must be endorsed by or made through a social or healthcare professional. The Barnwood Trust will arrange a home visit to discuss the individual needs of the applicant in greater detail and then endeavor to give you an answer within 10 working days.
3H Fund (Helping Hands for Holidays) helps disabled people on low incomes to holiday in the UK by contributing £200 – £400 towards their accommodation costs and these funds go directly to the venue. Their Holiday Grant Programme runs every year and a significant proportion of the funding is allocated to specific geographical areas, therefore you’ll need to check to see if funding is available for your particular area. You are eligible to apply for the grant if you are legal UK citizen, physically disabled, and have a low household income.
As well as completing the application form, you will also need to:
- Provide evidence of your disability with a letter from a healthcare or social professional, ensuring that the letter confirms your name and disability
- Provide evidence of your means tested income, including ESA, Pension Credit, Income Support, Child Tax Credits, Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, and Working Tax Credits
The charity may also accept a recent full month’s bank statement if you don’t receive any of the above means tested income but have a low household income. Ensure that you provide an official bank statement which states your full name and address.
Communication from the team is usually within 6 weeks of your application but this may take longer during busy periods with a higher number of applications. Full details of the application process are available on the ‘application guidance‘ page of the 3H Fund website.
Please note – applications for this grant open up at the start of each year. Current applications are closed as of the publishing date of this blog post, however, applications for the next round will re-open once more funding becomes available.
Alongside the many charities and groups who award disabled holiday grants, there are also a number of organisations which can provide holidays and travel services at a subsidised rate, helping to make going away more affordable. A few examples include:
The Jumbulance Trust
The Jumbulance Trust enables disabled individuals to travel across the UK and Europe by providing accessible coaches and drivers experienced in special care for hire. With specialised features such as accessible lifts, accessible washrooms, and floor tracking, wheelchair users are fully catered to on their ‘Jumbulances’. Hire of a Jumbulance comes at a subsidised rate and the coach can be booked for both day trips and for longer holidays throughout Europe.
Holidays with Help
Holidays with Help provide half and full board holidays for disabled individuals, welcoming single travellers, couples, and groups on their trips. Their holidays are subsidised and most types of wheelchairs can be accommodated – the team will get in touch to find out more about your particular model. Transport is not included in the package, meaning that you would need to arrange this separately. You can enjoy breaks to places such as Weston-super-Mare, Blackpool, and Llandudno.
As well as offering grants to eligible applicants, 3H Fund also run subsidised group holidays for the physically disabled. Everything that you could want to give you total peace of mind has been covered, from accessible accommodation to special dietary requirements and having a medical professional in attendance. The 2018 programme is an activity holiday to the Calvert Trust Centre in the Lake District and includes the opportunity to horse ride, kayak, zip wire, and more.
Tourism for All
Tourism for All is an independent charity dedicated to making tourism and travel accessible for everyone. Members of TFA enjoy discounts and savings at over 500 IHG Hotels across Europe. The IGH Hotels family includes well known hotel chains such as Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and InterContinental Hotels.
The Calvert Trust runs adventure holidays for the disabled in Kielder, the Lake District, and Exmoor. Each site has fully accessible accommodation, specialist staff that is trained to care and support visitors, and a range of outdoor activities suitable for people of all abilities. These already subsidised holidays are made even cheaper if you are staying at Calvert Trust Exmoor if you are eligible for a bursary. These are given discretionally and on a case by case basis, so head on over to the Calvert Trust website for more details.
State Support and Social Benefits
You should always ensure that you have researched into what benefits and state support you are entitled to as a person living with a disability. These benefits are intended to top up a low income or offer financial support if you are unable to work. Once you begin to receive the benefits to which you are entitled, you may find that you have the opportunity to save money towards a break.
The main disability benefits are:
- Employment and Support Allowance – you are over 16 and below state pension age and are unable to work due to your sickness or disability
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) / Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – you are aged 16-64 and have mobility or extra care needs due to your disability
- Attendance Allowance – you are aged 65 or over, are living with a mental illness or physical disability and need personal care
Visit the ‘financial help if you’re disabled’ section of the gov.uk website for full details of the disability-related financial support available.
Independent disability charity Scope has a useful online calculator which helps you to find out which means-tested benefits you are entitled to claim. The process takes about 10 minutes and you’ll need all of your financial information – including details such as your mortgage/rent payments and income – to hand but you do have the option of saving your progress and coming back to it later if needed.
We also recommend that you consult with the social care and health department of your local authority to see if they can support you with funding or advise if there are any other facilities in the area which could help you.
Turn2us has an online database where you can input your postcode, gender, and age to find charities in your area who may be able provide aid to you. Although they may not necessarily be able to provide financial support for a holiday, it is definitely worth having a look as you may get funding for things such as training and education, specialist clothes for work, etc.
You should always check your benefit entitlements before applying for a grant or bursary from a charity. They will want to see that you have exhausted all other resources available to you before declaring that you do not have the financial capability to fund the trip yourself.
Affordable Mobility Scooters and Electric Wheelchairs for Your Holiday
We at Pro Rider Mobility pride ourselves on our exceptional customer service and our highly competitive prices. We understand that all of our customers are unique with individual requirements and financial situations, which is why we offer a range of products and services to accommodate all needs and budgets. From our soon-to-be-launched 0% finance plan to our mobility scooter part exchange service plus huge savings across our range, we’re confident that we can help you find an affordable mobility scooter or electric wheelchair for your holiday. After all, you often find that you do a lot more travelling and exploring when you go away, therefore you’ll need a reliable companion to keep you comfortable and supported throughout the day.
Discover more about your options by heading on over to the Pro Rider Mobility website. Alternatively, contact our friendly and knowledgeable team on 01604 813428 or via email at email@example.com.