Charity Launches Seaside Walk in Ayr to Support Struggling Families

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The Family Holiday Association is launching a Seaside Walk in Ayrshire on Sunday 31st May, to help celebrate its 40th anniversary.

The guided walk is part of the charity’s Seaside Walk Week and will raise money to support struggling families with children who are in desperate need of a break. The charity is hoping that families, holidaymakers and more experienced walkers, will all sign up to take part and explore the great British seaside with friends.

People can choose to do a short walk of 2.5 miles or a long walk of 7 miles. Both walks will start and finish at the beautiful Culzean Castle and Country Park, owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland. The 18th century castle stands on a dramatic cliff top overlooking the Firth of Clyde. The property is set in 600 acres of stunning countryside with miles of footpaths, secluded ponds, cliff and beach walks. There are a number of eating places on the estate for those who wish to have something to eat or drink at the start or finish of the walk. As there is a common finishing point, the walk participants will also have the chance to socialise, celebrate and refuel together.

Over the past year, the charity has helped thousands of struggling families up and down the UK to spend much-needed time together. This could be anything from a simple day out to a few days in a caravan at the British seaside. However simple these trips may be, for those affected by severe and sudden illness in the family, bereavement, disability, mental health issues or abuse, they can be nothing less than a lifeline. With trips to the British seaside at the heart of the Family Holiday Association’s work, Seaside Walk Week is a fitting way to celebrate four decades of providing breaks for struggling families.

Commenting on the support they received from the Family Holiday Association, one local family said: “I can’t express how much this holiday break helped us as a family… We could relax and do activities we can’t usually do. I personally feel really relaxed now! I just want to express our thanks again for this holiday, it has meant the world to me and my girls, and we got to lead a normal life for a change. You have no idea how much that means to us.”

Alison Rice, chair of trustees, Family Holiday Association said: “For over half of the families that we work with, it is the first time they have experienced a family holiday together and a break away from some the worst challenges life can bring. By getting the chance to paddle in the sea, build that first sandcastle and share happy times just like other families, they can take home precious memories and a new sense of hope.

“We hope locals and visitors will be able to enjoy the walks in Ayrshire for our Seaside Walk Week, which in turn will help to make breaks possible for many of the families we support.”

Annique Armstrong, Regional Director of VisitScotland, said; “Seaside Walk Week is a fantastic initiative which will help those most in need of a holiday away from home. We know from our own market research that a holiday for many people in the UK is simply not an option due to financial concerns and we are delighted the Family Holiday Association has decided to include a walk in Ayrshire in their fundraising activity. Ayrshire is home to incredible stretches of sandy beach, impressive scenery including stunning views over to Ailsa Craig and Arran and great attractions such as NTS Culzean Castle. I would like to encourage as many people as possible in Ayrshire to support this thoughtful initiative and know that by taking part in the Seaside Walk in Ayrshire they are helping struggling families enjoy a much needed break.”

Families in need are referred to the Family Holiday Association by professionals in the community such as social workers, teachers, health visitors and other charities who are best placed to identify those who will benefit the most.

Neil Oliver, TV presenter and ambassador for the Family Holiday Association said: “I really want to encourage everyone lucky enough to enjoy holidays to support Seaside Walk Week. The money we raise will help children see the sea for the first time in their lives. Together we can give families who can’t see any escape from the daily struggle of impoverished lives, a break.”

Anyone interested in participating in the Seaside Walk in Ayr can register at SeasideWalkWeek.org.uk. It’s just £15 per adult to register, £5 for children aged 5 to 16 and under-fives go free. There is no minimum sponsorship required but, as it is the charity’s 40th anniversary, each family or group is being encouraged to raise £40 or more.