What is FAB?
FAB stands for Family Activity Breaks. It is an MOD sponsored initiative, partnered with the YHA to offer exciting breaks to all families with children aged 0 – 19 who have suffered the loss of a Serving loved one, (parent/step-parent/legal guardian/carer or sibling).
What is it all about?
The concept behind FAB is a simple one. It is a fun-packed adventure holiday for families, a place where children can meet children in similar situations, can make friends and can sample a whole range of exciting and adventurous opportunities. In essence it is their Amport. In addition, parents can relax too, participating with their children, or standing and cheering from the side-lines, depending on the nature of the activity. All of the activities are there, but there is no pressure to participate, and there is the opportunity to dip in and out of the programme depending on what families want to get out of the week.
How much does it cost?
The whole activity week for the family costs just £50 (including full board, accommodation and all organised activities).
Is it safe?
All of the MOD volunteers have been vetted and trained by the MOD and by the Candle Project (a bereavement counselling service run by St Christopher’s Hospice, London, who specialise in supporting children and young adults facing bereavement). In addition, all activities are run by qualified staff and risk assessments have been conducted.
My children are different ages?
Activities are tailored to suit the age groups attending the camps, ranging from 0 – 19. While some of the older children may be able to rock climb and windsurf, the younger ones can take part in supervised arts and crafts, treasure hunts and sand castle competitions – no one is left out.
Taking the children out is difficult:
There are trained MOD volunteers on hand to support you each step of the way. Each family will be assigned a volunteer. They will be there to help take the strain.
What types of activities are available?
There are a whole host of activities planned for each camp, including abseiling, archery, beach activities, coasteering, canoeing, climbing, gorge walking, horse skills, kayaking, low ropes, mountain biking, orienteering, paintballing, pond dipping, raft building, sailing, team games, tree climbing, wind surfing and zip wires – to name but a few!
What if my children want to do different things?
With negotiation, and depending on ages, it is possible for the families to support each other or for the volunteers to take children to different activities. The important element is clear communication – anything is possible.
What if I don’t want to take part in some activities?
You can accompany the group and cheer them on, or as long as there are enough volunteers to accompany each activity, you could do something different. There is no pressure to do anything you don’t want to. On the other hand, there is always a helping hand and support if you want to try something new.
What will the accommodation be like?
Every effort will be made to ensure family needs are catered for. At Coverack, there is the option of a YHA room, or a tent! The YHA locations can be viewed by visiting their website (www.YHA.org.uk)
I don’t want counselling!
That’s fine, the aim of the week is to provide a fun and adventurous experience for you and your family. Volunteers are on hand however, should you or your child(ren) wish to talk to someone at some point through the week. Volunteers will not approach you or start any difficult conversations. They are there to support you in whatever way you need.
I’m nervous that I won’t know anyone
The hardest part is the fear of the unknown. If you don’t like the camp, you can always leave., so what do you have to lose? The families involved in the pilot camps were nervous and some did not know any of the others attending, but after a few hours, that soon changed. There is no judgement or awkward questions, everyone is there to support each other and everyone understands how it feels to be in our situation. The children are amazing and gel together very quickly. At both Coverack and Whitby the families shared laughter and experiences. To hear more about these experiences, and nerves, watch the FAB DVD (in the welcome pack and on the website; welcome packs will be distributed shortly).
What are the benefits of the FAB camp?
Well, aside from a cheap holiday incorporating a wide range of specialist activities, there is the opportunity to make new, positive memories with your family. You can gain a little confidence and independence while experiencing a whole host of activities. In addition, you and your children will make new friends and find that you are not alone. Many of the children in the pilot remarked how they were able to be themselves as they had friends who understood, they were also surprised to find that others felt the way they did. In addition to the different experiences, many of the children grew in confidence and surprised themselves as well as each other.
How can I find out more?
If you are curious and think this may be a week for your family (no matter what the age range), you can visit the FAB website www.fabcamps.org.uk where you will find a leaflet detailing the application process for the camps, a DVD of the pilot families’ experiences, and a gallery of photos.