My name is Richard, I’m 42 and I am a single parent dad

I have two beautiful children and live in Wales. I first heard about Take A Break (activity holidays for single parent families) from a friend who knew that I loved outdoor adventure and that I’d had a tough year.

Excited about having the opportunity to relax and spend quality time as a family, I filled in my application and sent it off. We were allocated a place at Min-y-Don, a Christian Activity Centre in North Wales.

Leading up to the holiday I became nervous. I had never been to Min-y-Don before, and we would be meeting lots of new people. However, my son (8) and daughter (11) just couldn’t wait to get there.

After lots of stops on the journey – for McDonald’s, comfort breaks and just to take in the breathtaking scenery – we finally arrived. We stepped out of the car, and surrounded by an estuary and woodland, we instantly appreciated how peaceful it was. We were greeted by Peter and his family (who run the centre) and our Care for the Family hosts for the week. They showed us to our room and gave us a quick tour of the place. When we entered our room, there was a handwritten welcome card and some chocolates left for us by the hosts. I remember thinking how thoughtful this was and how it made us feel so welcome and at home.

After settling in, we met the other families and started to get to know everyone. During the first evening, we spent time playing games and had a few icebreakers. This time together really helped to make everyone feel relaxed and more comfortable with each other.

The centre prepared the food for us every day – always a highlight for a single parent! Everyone was involved in helping lay tables and clean up after every mealtime, which gave a real sense of family. It was also a great time to chat and get to know each other more.

From the moment we woke, every day was special. Before choosing activities, we always had time to chill with a cuppa. My kids loved choosing from the many activities available and as the week went on, they became confident to choose different things to do without me, as everyone became like a family looking after each other.

My son’s favourite activity was the crate tower and the high ropes course. My daughter really enjoyed kayaking and rock climbing. There was so much encouragement from everyone as each of us pushed ourselves a little further outside of our comfort zones. My favourite activity had to be the climbing wall and zip wire. I also loved decorating a special family plate, which we continue to use at home to celebrate each other’s achievements, and say, ‘Well done!’. In the middle of the week we went to the beach for the day. Jumping waves in the sea was so much fun and we didn’t want the day to end.

In the early evenings, centre staff would present some funny dramas and share encouraging stories about how they overcame tough situations. This impacted me greatly, giving me hope and a way forward. And then our children would go off to play games with the instructors while we, as parents, had time to relax and do some activities organised by the hosts. It was so nice to just have some adult time together, where we could enjoy each other’s company.

The week went far too fast for us and we didn’t want to leave. There is so much more I would love to say – I think I could write a book on the week. We made lots of friends and so many memories that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. Leaving was the hardest part, full of hugs and happy tears. We didn’t stop talking about it all the way home and if we could, we definitely want to go again.

Take A Break holidays run every summer at locations across the UK. Packed full of activities, they’re a great chance to try new things, meet new friends who understand the challenges of being a single parent and build memories together as a family.

If you’re a single parent family with children aged between 5–15, have a look at the Take A Break web page. Spaces and bursaries are limited, so book early.

A holiday with Take A Break will be relaxing, fun, and contain some exhausting activities, but you may also find that it turns out to be a holiday that makes a lasting difference to your family.

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