Here's our most commonly asked questions and the answers we give. Of course if there is anything else you need to know, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Who we help:
Subsidised or free holidays will be available for people or families on a low income, people with a long-term disability, disabling condition or life-limiting illness.
To decide if a person or family is eligible for support, we will also look at the income and the impact of disability on the person or family.
Confirmation of UK residency status will also be required if they are not a UK national (we may ask for a residency card or similar), and that the applicant has lived within the UK for six months or more.
Spectrum Holidays will focus on supporting families on a low income. People or families are likely to be eligible for a subsidised holiday if they receive one of the following:
Child Tax Credit
Carers allowance (for the person who will be directly benefitting from the holiday)
Working Tax Credit
Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
Income Related Employment Support Allowance
Free school meals
Families will need to send a copy of their most recent benefit entitlement, showing the name of the applicant, or main carer of the family, and current address.
We will also accept direct referrals from professionals, social services and local authority children services and adult social care, as well as charities that directly support families that meet our criteria. Please contact us here for more information
How we help:
At Spectrum Holidays we believe holidays should be accessible to all autistic people, their families and/or carers. We work with existing holiday homeowners and businesses around the UK, as well as having our own charity holiday homes in Northumberland. Full details of the holiday home and their facilities are then listed on our website with an emphasis on the needs of neurodivergent people (types of window/door locks, near any bodies of water, noise levels etc) so that people can make informed choices on where they would like to holiday. To help make the holiday more accessible a “Spectrum Pack” of sensory toys and equipment is provided to every holiday home that is listed on the website. The pack contains popular handheld fidget and sensory toys to help autistic people regulate their sensory input and ease anxiety caused by being in a new place. We also design and produce personalised visual stories and countdown calendars to help prepare an autistic person for their stay.
So that people have as wide a choice of accommodation types and locations as possible, we actively look for Spectrum Partners throughout the year and add their properties to our website.
How much will the charity subsidise?
As a new charity we will be spending the first 12-15 months building up funding in order to not only cover the operational costs of the charity, such as the cost of the sensory packs and the sensory caravans, but also to provide funding towards the cost of a holiday in any of the holiday homes on our website. The amount we will subsidise will vary depending on levels of funding we receive and will be a minimum amount of £300 per successful applicant. £300 will cover up to 100% of the rental cost of a short stay (2-4 nights) in the majority of our holiday homes. If we reach our funding targets earlier than predicted, we will offer subsidised or free holidays as soon as we are able to.
I am not eligible for funding, can I still book?
While we want to help all families access funding, we have to ensure we are promoting our charity’s purposes and targeting our support where it is needed the most. You are still welcome to book a holiday home with us and receive the same level of service, such as access to the Spectrum Pack and help with holiday preparation, however the cost of the holiday would not be subsidised.
Will I still need to pay a security bond.
The individual terms of the holiday homes are set by the holiday home owners and some do ask for a security bond to be paid. The bond would need to be paid directly to us and would be refunded following a satisfactory check of the holiday home upon departure.
Where can I see the holiday home availability?
All holiday homes are listed on our website www.spectrum-holidays.com
The online calendars are currently down and will not reflect the correct availability so please contact us to ask about dates and prices.
Why are the prices of the holiday homes all different?
We work with lots of holiday home owners and they will set the prices for their own properties. If you are looking at holiday homes with a hot tub for example, these properties are rented at a premium due to the running costs and maintenance of the hot tubs. Holiday homes in popular tourist destinations such as Cornwall can also cost more than others. Similarly, if you are looking at school holiday dates, the majority of holiday home owners will increase their costs during peak times to ensure their costs are covered for the low season. We have no control over costs and cannot amend them in any way, however we do ensure we have a broad range of holiday homes to suit most budgets.
Can I still use my Family Fund/Inspire Vouchers?
Yes absolutely! If you always have an Inspire voucher from Family Fund you are welcome to use that towards the cost of a holiday with us. If you have been awarded a voucher from family Fund you will not be eligible to apply to us for additional help towards the cost of a stay. This is to ensure everyone has a fair chance at receiving help towards the cost of a holiday. Please bear in mind that Inspire will add their service charge to the rental cost quoted by us.
There are no holiday homes in the area I want?
We are always looking to add more holiday homes to our website, and we actively look for Spectrum Partners in popular holiday locations. The most important thing about a potential spectrum partner is their willingness to work with us and their understanding of the needs of autistic people and their families. This does not mean that all holiday home owners we work with have to have first-hand or lived experience of autism, but it does mean that they are accepting and understanding of the concessions our guests may need.
Are the holiday homes on your website only for autistic people?
The majority of the holiday homes on our website are advertised on other booking sites to the general public. This means that when booking a location that has multiple properties, some of the families also staying there may have booked through us, however, some will be booked through other 3rd party agents and will be members of the general public.
Do you have to have a diagnosis of ASD to book with you?
We do not ask for proof of diagnosis. If you or a family member would benefit from the services, we provide at Spectrum Holidays you are welcome to book. If you meet the eligibility criteria for subsidised holidays you will be able to apply using an online form.
How do I apply for help towards the cost of holiday home rental?
Once our funding rounds open you can apply via an online form.