Brockswood School day trip to Brighton, UK - Travel Journal

Every time a customer books one of our vacations and opts in to our Trip for a Trip scheme, we organise a day trip for a disadvantaged young person somewhere around the world to see their local tourist sites, often for the first time.
Girls on Brighton pier
We took a coach of vulnerable families to Brighton for the day. The children were from Brockswood School, a small primary school in a high deprivation area of Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. Brockswood School strongly believe that the children's and families emotional well-being is just as important as their academic progress. They hold a great number of events throughout the school year where the children's extended family are invited and attend the school, but these activities are limited and low budget due to funding.

Big thanks to our friends at Brighton Palace Pier who very kindly gave the children free wristbands so they had unlimited rides on the pier! The day was amazing and gave families the chance to interact in a safe environment without worrying about financial implications. Everyone wore a smile throughout the day which was great to see.

Journal:

Date: 22nd June 2019

Who: 40 children (babies to 10 years old), 25 adults and 20 families!

Where: Brighton, UK

Diary of the day: All families and staff met at the school at 8.30am. We then boarded the coach to Brighton and arrived at approximately 10.45am where we were greeted by the Responsible Travel crew who made us feel welcome.

There was a clear blue sky and the sun was shining, we couldn’t have asked for better weather. We went as a group along to the pier where we were given free wristbands for children to access unlimited rides. The children enjoyed every minute of the rides and the parents all came together to help each other out. Laughter and smiles filled the pier and the children described the experience as the best day ever.

At 1pm we all went for lunch on the beach where the families had brought their own packed lunches. This was very relaxed and one by one the families started to take their children into the sea. Parents were interacting positively with their children and enjoying the quality time with the benefit of having staff from school around to ease their anxiety.

After lunch we split into smaller groups and took part in different activities such as the splash park, arcades and the Sea Life Centre. Overall this was an amazing trip and the families got so much from it.

Mum taking photos on Brighton pier
Families walking through an arc of balloons
Impact: The comments back from all families and children that went are so positive. Some children said it was the best day of their lives and they really enjoyed swimming in the sea. The parents said it was good for them to get together as a group and they have made friends with other parents from the day. A couple of families said that they get very bad anxiety when going out to places so usually just stick to the local area. They explained that because staff were going they felt safe to go to Brighton for the day and loved every minute of it.

Case study: A single mum with two boys who went on the trip to Brighton said that the boys loved the rides and going in the sea. They have not been to the beach before and this gave them the chance to go as a family. The family struggle financially and find it hard to take part in activities that are not too expensive and include all three of them. Going to Brighton would have been too overwhelming for the mum to manage by herself, so this trip gave her the opportunity to bond with other parents whilst having fun with her children. The youngest child was able to play with children his age and the oldest child also had children to play with. The oldest boy told us he loved every minute of it and enjoyed having a little freedom with his friends and the youngest boy thoroughly enjoyed looking over the pier and going in the sea.

Quotes from the day:
Children:

(about Brighton) - "It's amazing, the rides are fun."

"The day so far has been fun and scary."

"This is my second time at the beach - it's amazing."

"I'm looking forward to the beach because I'm going to 'silly salmon'."

Families:

"It's been so lovely to be able to get to come together as a big family and enjoy the day, it's also a great opportunity for us as we haven't booked anything for the summer vacations."

"It's lovely for the children to spend some time together outside of school. Some of them live in sparse areas so they don't get to go out to play."

"Days out cost a lot of money and it is difficult for some parents."

"It has a massive impact on the children as a lot of them have background issues - the children get to forget about their problems at home for the day."

"A good majority of the children have never been to the beach before."

"When the children first saw the sea they were screaming and really excited and you could hear those that hadn't been before - it was lovely and emotional."

"The children are going to hold on to this for a long time."
Family Holiday Association logoAbout our partner organisation: The Family Vacation Association is the leading national charity dedicated to providing breaks and day trips for families struggling with some of the toughest challenges life can bring. It works with thousands of charities, social work departments, housing associations and NHS services who refer families in need of a break. In 2016 it helped over 11,000 children in 5,000 families get a short break or day out within the UK. For the majority of these families it was their first break away together and for over 1/3 was the first time that the children visited the beach.

Smiling children's faces
Little girl on carousel horse
Families looking out at the sea
Happy Mums
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