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The Price of Inclusion: Independent Breaks and Learning Disabilities

How financial barriers make trips and short breaks impossible for people with learning disabilities

“I decided it was time for me to have holidays without mum. I’m getting older and it’s time for me to move on. But when I tried to plan a holiday, I found I couldn’t.”

For many people, the prospect of a holiday or day trip is an exciting one. It’s a chance to get away from the stresses and strains of everyday life, to relax, unwind, and explore new places. However, planning a break can be challenging for individuals with learning disabilities due to costs, caregiver availability, and finding accessible accommodation.

Rachel is 43 and has a learning disability. She is a member of the Guideposts Hub in Stroud, a day service where adults with learning disabilities learn new skills and move towards independence. For Rachel, this means booking a trip away from home without her mum.

“Mum is 70. She can’t move around as easily as she once could. We want to do completely different things when we are out. I would rather go with someone my own age, who enjoys the same things I do. I want to be more independent too.

Other people go out with their friends, and I want to do the same. It does upset me that I can’t. My sister goes on holiday and I just look at her and think, why can’t I do that too. It really gets me down.

An elderly mother and her daughter sit in a café together on holiday.
Above: While taking trips with parents can be enjoyable, many people with a learning disability seek more independence.

The Cost of a Break

“I wish I could go on holiday with my friends from Guideposts. It would be good to have a few members of staff come with us too, to make sure everyone is ok. My dream trip would be to Butlins. I have seen it on TV and it looks perfect. I would go straight to the disco or to the plays!

I would need a carer to come along to make sure I’m ok, but it would be too expensive. Needing a carer means holidays and trips would cost twice as much. I just can’t afford it without funding.”

Many people with a learning disability find trips impossible to afford. Rachel has applied for funding to help her afford a holiday, but because her learning disability is not classed as severe, she does not meet the criteria. Added to this is the fact that Rachel, like many people with a learning disability, would need a carer to come along.

Never Seen, Never Been

People with learning disabilities should be supported to enjoy life in the wider community. For adults with learning disabilities, however, this can be a real challenge. Whether it’s due to cost, a lack of support, or a desire for greater independence, obstacles need to be overcome.

Guideposts works to ensure the cost of holidays is not prohibitive for people like Rachel. Independence in daily life doesn’t negate the need for support during holidays, which can be costly. It is important to note that people with a learning disability are disproportionately likely to experience financial hardship and poverty, and this will worsen with rising living costs.

Arranged group holidays and trips for people with a learning disability make day trips and short breaks a tangible reality for people like Rachel. This way she would be able to both experience her local community and travel further afield with friends.

People with disabilities should be able to enjoy trips and holidays.
Above: People with disabilities should be able to enjoy trips and breaks.

Guideposts enables people with disabilities to enjoy the psychological boost of going on a trip. Our support workers make group trips more affordable by caring for multiple individuals simultaneously. We also ensure transport is suitable for those with mobility issues, and plan accessible activities the group will enjoy.

Our Never Seen, Never Been campaign helps fund supported breaks and day trips for people with learning disabilities. Guideposts has long sought to ensure people with disabilities enjoy the same opportunities so many take for granted. We have been extending our provision for overnight holidays too, with Butlin’s being a particular hit. Through our campaign, we can help people with disabilities to live life the way they want. Please support our Never Seen, Never Been campaign.

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