Breakaway Supported Holidays

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Breakaway Supported Holidays's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Breakaway Supported Holidays is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
Highlighting best practice
Founder and Director Penny Elsip
Happy holidaymakers
When Penny Elsip recognised that there was a real need
for holidays for adults with learning disabilities who
were not able to travel on their own, she established
Breakaway. Motivated by the belief that everyone should be
enabled to live life to the full, Penny started by offering small
group holidays in Essex. Over the 20 years that followed, the
business grew steadily year on year and now delivers breaks and
holidays to people all over the country.
At first, people only knew of us because of word of mouth and recommendations;
it wasn’t long, however, before we began producing brochures and developing
a professional website. Our audience and the range of holidays we offer have
both widened significantly, with British and European breaks proving to be
Why holidays matter
For a person with a learning disability, the opportunity to travel independently opens
many doors. Before they even leave, they have the freedom to choose a holiday
from a brochure. Our breaks promote independence in a safe setting and provide
our customers with the opportunity to develop social skills and make newfriends.
We find that a holiday often enhances and enriches an individual’s experience by
exposing them to new cultures, languages and foods. Our customers are often
excited when they travel through the Eurotunnel or arrive in a new country and
hear a different language. We ensure that they’re appropriately supported to use
that language and develop it as a skill. This is so important, no matter how small the
»Founder: Penny Elsip
»Established in 1998
»Based in Chelmsford, Essex
»Services: Supported holidays
for adults with learning
»No. of employees: 15, with
temporary staff in the summer
and the occasional volunteer
»Ethos: “Life to the full for
Breakaway Supported
discussion in question is. Even if it’s just
ordering a drink or buying some bread,
successfully using a phrase like “une
baguette s’il vous plaît” is so beneficial
for many customers’ self-esteem.
Our holidays don’t just help the customer
– they offer parents and guardians a
great deal of respite from the 24-hour
responsibility of caring. Many families
even let us know just how much easier it
is for them to go away or rest themselves
when they know that their relative is
safe and happy on a Breakaway trip.
Our packages
We aim to provide something suitable for
everyone and offer an extensive range of
breaks. These span from holiday parks
and resorts to gîtes, cottages and hotels.
Themed holidays have become very
popular over the past few years; we
offer horse riding, cooking, crafts,
rock climbing, archery, bush craft and
quad biking, just to name a few. We
find that introducing these kinds of
activities develops skills and leads to
increased confidence and self-belief for
our customers.
We are the only supported holiday
company that works as an official
agent for Bourne Leisure, which means
that we offer a wide selection of breaks
to Butlin’s and Warner Leisure Hotels.
All Breakaway holidays are ABTOT and
ATOL-protected, which provides our
customers with the financial security
they deserve and complies with the
travel industry’s regulations.
Meeting customers’ needs
Our customers are aged anywhere from
18 to well over 80 and, as such, they
have a diverse and varied range of needs.
Many people who travel with us have
extra needs such as help with personal
care, prompting for medication, help
with money and often mobility or
continence issues. As we have grown,
so too has the number of people
that travel with us, and some of our
original customers are getting older
and frailer. Our customers range from
the very able to the far less able, but
nonetheless, everyone still needs a fun
holiday that’s well suited to them.
In order to meet these various needs
and remain compliant, our staff
team are employed through a CQC-
registered agency that ensures all
proper training and checks are in
place. All staff undertake regular
safeguarding, medication and first-aid
training to best meet the needs of our
customers. We often find that this
is hugely reassuring for the carers or
parents booking the holidays.
Funding concerns
Our main challenge going forward
is funding. All of our customers rely
on benefits for their income, and
we’re starting to see a nationwide
disparity with regard to the system;
some recipients have ample funds but
many others seem to be struggling.
Howcanthis be equal? Benefit cuts have
a serious and direct impact on a person’s Co-director Katy Elsip,
with a customer on the
We aim to
suitable for
everyone and
offer an
extensive range
of breaks. These
span from
holiday parks
and resorts to
gîtes, cottages
and hotels
Highlighting best practice
ability to take a holiday, and this is not
something that should be neglected.
We already see people struggling to
afford time away and, while it is true
that many of us may struggle to pay for
a break ourselves, we often do have the
option of taking on extra work in order
to achieve this – an option that is simply
not available for the vast majority of our
customers. Many are not able to work,
and those who can and do have benefits
cut in line with their increased income.
It is a point of concern that the Care
Act does not necessarily view a holiday
as a “need”, and this seriously affects
a person’s ability to afford to get away
for a well-deserved break. We all want
inclusion and for those with disabilities
to have the same opportunities as
everyone else, but if funding cuts are
too heavy-handed, these options will
be taken from people who really do
deserve time away.
A bold future for Breakaway
One of the challenges we currently
face is the age range of our
customers. To ensure we can cater
for everyone, we have just developed
a selection of breaks aimed at the
18 to 35 market – Breakaway BOLD.
Wefinditunderstandable that
someone in their twenties does not
necessarily wish to travel with someone
in their seventies, or vice versa.
BOLD holidays are lively, action-
packed and offer a great deal of
independence, while still providing our
essential 24-hour support. Inclusion
is key for all of our breaks, but it’s
especially relevant for our younger
customers who truly wish to take
their place in the world as valued
individuals. Our full-time couriers are
supported by younger staff on these
trips to foster new friendships for
customers of all levels of ability.
We’re not compromising on quality
elsewhere, however. We value our
older and less mobile customers,
providing holidays where accessibility
and extra support are offered as part
of the package. Destinations and
activities are chosen carefully to reflect
the needs of this demographic so
that we can ensure an enjoyable and
engaging trip away.
Our ethos has always been “life to the
full, for everyone”, and having people
travel with us who cannot wait to
travel again makes everything we do
so worthwhile.
Our main
going forwards
is funding.
Allof our
customers rely
on benefits for
their income
A trip to Malta
It is very clear that such holidays have a powerful effect on those who
take them:
I enjoyed everything. I loved the staff; found them very supportive
and kind. It was great to have the opportunity to do something
different… Icould have stayed another week!”
I enjoyed everything about it. I will definitely go back again. I liked
meeting new people and getting to know them. I loved every minute
of it.
and a carer from Essex who states,
My brother enjoyed his recent holiday with you; he has been talking
about it ever since! The couriers were absolutely brilliant with him.
Thank you for making him very happy.”

This article was sponsored by Breakaway Supported Holidays. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister