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In January and February of 2023 YouGov conducted a survey on the basis of what should living standards be like for people on benefits, minimum wage and average income. The way the question was phrased was ambiguous. A second survey by YouGov, commissioned by Carnegie UK asked clearer questions. The Resolution Foundation’s Living Standard report in 2023 largely corroborated Carnegie’s findings.

Carnegie’s survey indicated that in 2023 two thirds of parents had trouble taking part in leisure activities with their children. This included taking the children away on holiday.

Before the pandemic and in the cost of living crisis about a third of families had no annual holiday. They could not afford one. This is where the Mothers’ Union (MU) can sometimes help, at least a few families.

The Away From It All, or AFIA scheme aims to give families without much hope of a holiday or day out help by taking them somewhere for a break. AFIA is a Mothers’ Union holiday scheme, primarily funded by MU members, to give the opportunity of a break to those who may be experiencing stress, money troubles or difficulties in their family life.”

Here in Bristol, the MU’s AFIA project has taken local families on visits to the seaside at Weston-Super-Mare. In 2023 we were able to supply 5 coaches and give families comprising 126 parents/carers and more than 170 children a day at the seaside. This year, 2024, we are planning to provide 6 coaches for a similar number of families.

MU doesn’t make a charge for the trips but, does require a £5.00 deposit. Deposit! But you don’t charge you say. Well we don’t. The deposit is returned on the coaches, on the way to Weston’Super-Mare. It is simply a way of helping reduce the drop-out-rate by incentivising people to show up to get their deposit returned.

Would you or someone you know benefit from a day out? You can apply or nominate someone by following this link to the MU website. Scroll down the page until you see “How To Apply”, or ask a local MU member to put you in touch with the AFIA scheme coordinator for your area.

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