I was a single parent looking after my children, Kiran aged 12 and Zara aged 10, and working as a childminder. Part of my weekly routine was going to a parent and toddler group run by the local Baptist church.
One morning I was chatting to one of the leaders about the difficulties of taking the children on holidays when you’re a single parent. She told me about an organisation called Care for the Family, a Christian-based charity that promotes family life and supports those who face family difficulties. She said that it offered holidays especially for single parent families. I took home the relevant information, made a phone call and a brochure was sent on its way to me. When it arrived, one holiday that stood out was based on board a ship in Tollesbury, Kent, less than two hours’ drive away.
In no time at all our holiday was booked and I had two excited children who couldn’t wait to go on a ship. It turned out to be a holiday of a lifetime.
Being on board the converted lightship was a very exciting place to have a break. My children loved having their own cabin. They were able to learn lots of different life skills like joining in with everyone to do the washing up, clean and lay the tables, and empty the bins. All this interactivity made the chores fun and certainly encouraged all the children to mix and talk.
Kiran and Zara enjoyed the sailing and obstacle course games, which also taught them new skills, and they particularly liked the ‘cake’. We seemed to have cake delivered to us at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. every day wherever we were or whatever we were doing. Even when we were sailing a speed boat came out to us to deliver it!
There were ten families altogether, including Christians and those of other faiths and no faith, with children aged between 8 and 16. The adults had two evenings free to get to know each other, and we shared lots of personal stories, tips and advice. There was a quiz night and bowling outing too. The children were entertained with a film, popcorn and games.
I got to know a group of ladies, one of whom told us how she didn’t sleep well, only getting a few hours sleep each night. I was a new Christian and I was brave enough to ask if I could pray for her. I asked if the group would mind if we held hands and I prayed. The next morning my new friend was very excited to tell me that she’d had the best night’s sleep in a very long time. She thanked me for praying. That made me feel fantastic and I said my own thank you to God.
I came home five days later completely relaxed with two happy children already talking about when we were going on our next adventure.
Thank you, Care for the Family. You have provided memories that will last my family a lifetime.
For more information on Care for the Family’s Take a break holidays, go to the website www.careforthefamily.org.uk/events/family-breaks/take-a-break