Free Sherwood Forest stays are being offered to 52 struggling families across the country.
Charity Family Holiday Association (FHA) provide breaks for families dealing with issues such as bereavement, mental health issues, disability and domestic violence.
FHA has teamed up with holiday company Forest Holidays to provide the breaks, which aim to give families some respite surrounded by nature.
Bruce McKendrick, chief executive of Forest Holidays said:" Forest Holidays exists to bring the benefits of the forest into people’s lives, to connect people, nature and local communities. I"t’s a sad fact that our connection with nature is diminishing as we lead increasingly urban lifestyles and children play outside less.
"It’s imperative that we help to redress that balance and open up our nation’s forests for as many people as possible. We are delighted that our partnership with the Family Holiday Association will offer 52 families most in need of a break the opportunity to reconnect with each other and renew their relationship with nature.
"Our guests genuinely feel a reconnection with the natural world that is restorative and uplifting and we very much look forward to welcoming our guests from the Family Holiday Association and sharing the fantastic experience of the forest with them.”
Each of the 52 forest holidays on offer will be in Golden Oak cabins, complete with outdoor hot tub and log burning stove.
The first break is expected to be given to a family in March 2019.
With each break Forest Holidays will also provide a forest ranger activity; every Forest Holidays location has a resident Forest Ranger, an expert in the local wildlife who helps to bring the forest alive for guests.
John Kinnear, head of programmes at the Family Holiday Association, said: “The partnership with Forest Holidays is wonderful news as it will enable us to provide struggling British families the chance to spend meaningful time in nature, perhaps for the very first time. It’s a perfect fit as we know that Forest Holidays work extremely hard to connect people with nature and local communities and evidence shows that the breaks we offer result in stronger, healthier and happier families and communities. We’re excited to send our first family on their Forest Holiday very soon.”
In 2018, the Family Holiday Association helped 3,820 families access a break; 8,612 children and 6,181 adults.
Research conducted by the charity shows that when a child is able to go on holida,y 97 per cent of them had new experiences whilst 90 per cent of families reported a reduction in stress levels and 91 per cent were better able to cope with everyday life.
Despite the clear and wide-ranging benefits of a break, one in three children in the UK miss out on a holiday each year