How it works
We manage The Directory, a register of all holiday homes where the owner is happy to 'bank' spare time to families desperately in need of a break. Healthcare professionals can 'withdraw' a week at a time for families they know would benefit most. In most cases, referrals come from children's hospices or cancer support teams and we regularly work with the same nurses. Once an organisation has helped to arrange one sucessful holiday, they tend to come back again and again.
We help young families where either a parent or child is suffering from a terminal illness or a family who have been recently bereaved. The families can travel together or whilst their loved one is in respite. We appreciate that often a parent has to give up work to be a carer and house adaptions need doing, but we don't means-test families. We rely on the careworks to see which of their families is going through a particularly hard time and then they refer them.
A careworker, who has known the family for a year or more, can apply by sending us an application form and accompanying reference letter. Once Homes with Heart have checked with the careteam, we do all of the arrangements with the families to help them plan their holiday. They can view the properties online, come back to us with their selection and leave it to us to contact the owners to see if they can help. We're there to answer any questions for the owners and the families visiting and we're here afterwards to see how it went.
It costs the family £30 per head for all travellers aged three and over. Homes with Heart uses this if an owner wants to donate a week rent-free but needs to cover their housekeeping costs. If a holiday is cancelled because of ill health, this is refunded.