The lyrics in Madonna’s 1980s hit Holiday – ‘Just one day out of life / It would be so nice’ – may not be the most profound, but will resonate with many of the UK’s 10.5 million unpaid carers, many of whom provide care all day, every day.
Carers UK, a charity whose annual surveys provide a stark insight into the lives of Britain’s unofficial carers, said in its 2021 State Of Caring report that 72 per cent of respondents had not taken a break during the pandemic.
While it might be convenient to blame Covid, this is a long-standing problem: in 2017, the charity reported that 25 per cent of respondents had not had a day off in five years.
Carefree arranges for vacant rooms in more than 130 hotels to be offered free to carers and a plus one (file photo)
It’s great news, then, that there is help available.
Carefree is a not-for-profit organisation that arranges for vacant rooms in more than 130 hotels to be offered free to carers and a plus one on a B&B basis for up to three nights, while cottages can be booked for between four and seven nights (carefreespace.org).
Other charities have their own holiday accommodation.
After Umbrage provides up to four nights free in Kingham Cottage, Bath, to those caring for someone with a life-limiting illness or who have been bereaved for less than a year (afterumbrage.org.uk).
Several UK charities have their own holiday accommodation. The Respite Association has Joanna’s Cottage in Cornwall (pictured) and Lan y mor Hafan caravan in North Wales
After Umbrage offers stays in Kingham Cottage, Bath (pictured), to those caring for someone with a life-limiting illness or who have been bereaved for less than a year
A room at After Umbrage's Kingham Cottage
The Respite Association has Joanna’s Cottage in Cornwall and Lan y mor Hafan caravan in North Wales, both available for a week and sleeping four.
The charity can also fund holiday cover (respiteassociation.org).
Honeypot provides three-night stays to child carers aged five to 13 during school holidays and weekends.
It has two houses – in Hampshire and Mid Wales (honeypot.org.uk).