Charity can no longer afford to provide ‘popular’ holiday caravans for Peterborough special needs families
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A Peterborough charity that supports families with special needs and disabilities has announced rising costs have forced it to sell off its two holiday park caravans.
Family Voice Peterborough (FVP) said its static caravan units – which are based at Butlins and Haven parks in Skegness and Caister – have been used by countless local families with special needs over the years.
FVP’s chair, Jason Merrill, said he and the Trustees found it a “very difficult decision” to make.
“When we purchased the caravans, we did so to provide cheap short breaks to the families we support,“ he said.
“These breaks were popular, and families enjoyed using them.”
FVP said rising costs and growing maintenance concerns had grown beyond the charity’s reach. Fuel and maintenance costs had, Jason said, tripled in recent years.
“Sadly times have changed,” he acknowledged, “and, just like cars, caravans rapidly depreciate in value and over time increasingly need more work to maintain them.
The decision was made at an official meeting last month where Trustees agreed the caravans were no longer the best use of the charity’s funds.
FVP estimated that owning and maintaining the caravans “cost in the region of £30,000 a year.”
Along with spiralling costs, FVP also highlighted the amount of use the caravans got as a critical issue.
“The numbers of families who have been using them has decreased since the pandemic,” Jason noted.
The charity is required to sell the static caravans back to the site owners, Haven and Butlins.
It expects to raise around £14,500 from the sale of the units, which are nine and six years old.
FVP said the funds raised will enable them to support families in other ways, and to provide alternative breaks.
Jason pointed out that families who have enjoyed holidaying at Butlins and Haven with FVP will still be able to find budget-friendly breaks by booking through the parks directly.
“We found that during school term time a family can book a week for £100,” Jason noted.
FVP estimates there are 4,500 households with children and young people who are living with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Peterborough. The charity supports between 300 to 500 families each year.