For families living in hardship dreams of summer holidays and days out often remain so, especially since the coronavirus pandemic has seen leisure facilities closed and travel banned for the foreseeable future.

But The Caravan Project in Glasgow has come up with an innovative approach to continue providing respite for families so they can holiday at home, even if it's just for an afternoon.

The new campaign is asking people to recreate cherished childhood memories of holidays captured on camera and donate £10 to the project to help support families across the city.

Actor Libby McArthur is one of the first to have recreated a favourite memory of a family holiday in Ayrshire.

She said: “I remember walking fearlessly through fields full of cows. I used to be dragged kicking and screaming inside, I only went home if I was starving.

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"It really was the best time ever, and childhood holidays can provide the fondest, life- long memories.”

For only £10, The Caravan Project will supply a holiday kit to families that could include a tent, garden furniture, outdoor games and food.

The packages, like the original Big Day Out the charity ran until lockdown that would pay for families to go to holiday parks or enjoy days at climbing facilities and the Glasgow Science Centre, will be tailored to every family and their specific set of needs.

Ian Crawford, project manager, said: "There's such a strain on people just now. If you're lucky you'll have a garden and you'll get some fresh air but for a lot of people who are stuck in a high rise flat lockdown has caused a lot of strain and had an impact on their mental health.

"We want to help families create adventure in their home environment - something special they will always remember."

Since the Big Day Out programme was launched a year ago, more than 1000 days out have been funded with around 500 families given travel tickets, leisure and holiday passes and food costs covered.

Having to "think on their feet" after lockdown was announced meant The Caravan Project were able to conceive their new approach in continuing to support people on low incomes, often living with challenging circumstances.


With their community fundraising almost wiped out due to the pandemic, the project has been granted lifeline continuation funding from the Big Lottery and the Robertson Trust, but the future remains uncertain.

Mr Crawford said: "The picture is still quite unclear just now in terms of what's going to be open in the future but the most important thing for us is that families have something to look forward to that has broken the monotony of the last couple of months.

"Many are living with lots of complex issues, with children with disabilities and a range of needs. We're trying to understand what they might need and be of value to them in terms of getting a bit of respite and easing their fears."

For Mr Crawford, one of 14 siblings, holidays abroad were not an option but the family would travel from Glasgow to Seton Sands for an annual beach break, memories of which still bring him joy.

He said: "The one thing that connects everyone regardless if they can afford to got to the Caribbean or closer to home, your childhood memories of holidays stick with you for life, if you're lucky enough to get away.

"For me, it was Seton Sands, and I still think and talk about those memories with my family and my own two children. And how important it was for my parents too."

Being able to recreate the sense of holiday, and the calm it brings, at home through their new initiative, means that hundreds of families won't miss out on the valuable bonding time, thanks to Mr Crawford and his colleagues.

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He said: "Families who can’t afford days out or days in and who live with high stress come back and tell us their sense of wellbeing has greatly improved, and they have a sense of optimism that didn't exist previously."

The charity's Crowdfunder fundraising goal of £2,000 will pay for around 200 children to receive the Big Day Out packages.

Mr Crawford said: "This summer tensions and financial pressure will be at their peak. We know how important providing families with respite from these lockdown months will be in helping them move forward.

"Donating to this campaign supports families who live on a very low income and are facing some really challenging circumstances."