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Big-hearted Brits believe key workers deserve a free holiday, survey finds

  • Research reveals Brits’  new-found appreciation for key workers 
  • Six in ten believe key workers should have a free or discounted holiday 
  • New non-profit calls for donations to give key workers a well-deserved break

Eight out of ten (82%) Brits say they appreciate the country’s key workers more now than before the pandemic, according to new research.

In a OnePoll survey of 1,000* people, 83% of respondents said they believe that key workers deserve more recognition for their work.

The study was commissioned by Give Them A Break, a new non-profit set up to give key workers access to free and discounted holidays as a thank you for keeping the country running during the Covid-19 crisis.  

When asked what further reward respondents felt key workers should receive, almost six in ten (57%) said a free or discounted holiday, and the same number believed they should have an extra day’s annual leave each year. 

Just under a third (32%) agreed that a National Key Worker Recognition Day should be established. 

The findings also showed that young people were most likely to value key workers more since lockdown. Some 86% of 18 to 24 year olds – the highest proportion of any age group – said their appreciation for key workers had increased. 

A total of 89% of Londoners said their appreciation of key workers had grown – the largest percentage of any UK region. 

Numbers were similar in Scotland. Some 79% of Scots said their appreciation for key workers had increased during the pandemic, with 81% saying they deserved more recognition. Nearly half of Scots (49%) believed key workers deserved a free holiday, while 68% felt they should have an increase in salary. 

As UK travel begins to open up, Give Them A Break is calling on the public to donate to its charity fund to help low income key workers have a well-deserved holiday. 

Give Them A Break founder Rachel McCaffery said: “From working long hours in uncomfortable PPE, to isolating from their own families, key workers are the heroes who have kept the country running during lockdown and beyond. These results show that Brits have recognised the incredible contribution of essential workers during this pandemic and want them to be recognised and rewarded.

“Holidays, especially family holidays, play such an important role in recuperation and recovery. Who deserves a holiday more than those heroes who kept our country running? If we all chip in just a small donation, we can give them the break they’ve earned.”

Later this month, Give Them A Break will also be launching a deals directory for all UK key workers featuring exclusive discounts from leading travel brands.

*The survey of 1,000 UK adults was conducted from 6 to 7 July 2020 by OnePoll 

Further Information

Chloe Berman E: media@givethemabreak.org T: 07769256173 

Images are available to download here and further data points are available on request.

Editor’s notes 

Give Them A Break is a not-for-profit campaign founded by Rachel McCaffery, Director of GreenCase Ltd, with the voluntary assistance of a number of travel industry professionals and supporters. All donations go directly to Give Them A Break’s (GTAB) charity partner, the Family Holiday Association, (registered charity number 800262). The Family Holiday Association is the leading national charity dedicated to providing breaks and day trips for families struggling with some of the toughest challenges life can bring. The charity was founded 45 years ago on the belief that holidays are a lifeline not a luxury. In 2019, the charity helped 4,821 families access a break – 10,641 children and 7,836 adults. Evidence shows that the charity’s work results in stronger, healthier and happier families and communities.Give Them A Break’s deals directory will launch at the end of July with offers from leading brands. These include: TUI, Travel Republic, Travebag, A&O Hostels, Abercrombie & Kent, Alpharooms; AMAWaterways, Britain Unites, Dragoman, Elegant Resorts, Elite Island Resorts, gap360, Hyatt; Inspiring Travel Company, Intrepid Travel, Intro Travel, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, Nemo Travel, Rainbow Tours, Rhino Car Hire, Rough Guides, Sanctuary Retreats, Teletext Holidays, The Discerning Collection, Transindus and Travel Department.

“It felt like people were more appreciative of what we do” – Physiotherapist Melissa shares her experience

When the UK went into lockdown back in March, those working in hospitals found themselves on the frontline as the COVID-19 crisis unfolded.

Melissa Gullett (26) is a senior physiotherapist in neurological rehabilitation at a Surrey hospital. When the virus broke out, Melissa and her colleagues had to react quickly to the change in environment.

“The whole stroke unit physically moved to another ward in order to keep the hospital split up into zones” she explained. The type of care Melissa had to provide to stroke patients also had to be altered. “We couldn’t take people into the gym, which we usually use everyday, so we had to be a little more creative in our bedside rehabs.”

While many of us read about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) shortages in the news, for Melissa this was a distressing reality. “We weren’t given the correct PPE in the beginning which was scary,” she shared.

Other medical staff were able to give advice over the phone to avoid moving from ward to ward but the physical nature of the physiotherapist role meant that it was impossible to administer care in this way. Melissa explained that this created “an internal moral battle because obviously you want to put patient care first but you’re worried about catching the virus yourself when providing the treatment.”

Luckily, she was fitted with appropriate PPE eventually but this brought with it new challenges. “For a lot of our patients who rely on lipreading to communicate, it’s been really difficult with a mask.” Again, Melissa was able to overcome this new obstacle by adapting quickly. “We tried to communicate with our eyes to show that we were smiling and were more expressive with our body language”.

The camaraderie amongst the hospital staff was a source of strength for Melissa. She said: “Everyone was so positive and pulled together. We all understood what our colleagues were going through and would always find the time to properly check in on one another.”

Addressing the weekly nationwide clap, she said: “It felt like people were a lot more appreciative of what we do.” She hopes that this appreciation endures as the last few months have left her feeling burnt out.

Like many frontline staff Melissa’s annual leave was cancelled, meaning her annual trip to Greece to visit her family was postponed. She’s planning to go later this summer and said “I’m so excited to have a break and be reunited with my family. I feel like I don’t take anything for granted now; I’m grateful that they’re all ok and I can go and see them at last.”

If you’d like to help key workers like Melissa have a well earned break, please donate to our Give Them a Break fund.

Magical UK day trips for the family

The school summer holidays are here at last and after months of online lessons and lockdown activities, you may be in search of some inspiration for your outdoor exploration. From sites made famous by blockbuster films to geological wonders, these mythical UK destinations may just be the touch of magic that the whole family needs.

Wistman’s Wood – Devon

Image by Martin Bodman via Wikimedia Commons

The tangled branches and moss-carpeted boulders of Wistman’s Wood evoke tales of the supernatural. The oakwood is one of the highest in Britain and has been named a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Go to the Visit Dartmoor website for more information.

Glenfinnan Viaduct – Highland, Scotland

Image by @jack_anstey via Unsplash

The Glenfinnan Viaduct is renowned for connecting the muggle world with the magical realm of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. Take in the stunning site from one of the surrounding viewpoints or ride the Jacobite steam train to experience the magic for yourself.

For train schedules and tickets, visit The Jacobite website.

Giant’s Causeway – Northern Ireland

Image by @alexazabache via Unsplash

Legend has it that the causeway was the result of a rivalry between two giants when Irish giant, Finn McCool built a bridge to confront Scottish giant, Benandonner. The 40,000 basalt stone columns were actually the result of volcanic eruptions around 60 million years ago but traversing the unique geological landscape will have you wondering if there may be some truth to the legend after all.

For visitor information and tickets, visit the National Trust website.

Fingal’s Cave – Isle of Staffa, Scotland

Image by Lesbardd via Wikimedia Commons

Connected by geological history and legend alike, the basalt stone columns of Fingal’s cave in Scotland are just as magical to experience as their Irish counterparts. Venture into the cave on foot via the natural pathway created by the columns or explore the surrounding area by boat, spotting the puffins and seals that inhabit the nearby islands along the way.

For more information, including opening times and directions, visit the National Trust for Scotland website.

The Dark Hedges – County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Image by @kmitchhodge via Unsplash

This avenue of over 150 entwined beech trees will be instantly recognisable to adult fans of the Game of Thrones series but equally as enchanting for children too. The Dark Hedges were planted by James Stuart in the late 18th century, who wanted to create an imposing entrance to his estate. Today the tunnel of trees attracts many visitors who want to experience their mystical atmosphere.

Visit this website for more information.

Puzzlewood – Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Image by @carlnewton via Unsplash

A visit to Puzzlewood feels like stepping into the pages of a fairytale so it’s no wonder the site has been the filming location for sci-fi and fantasy films alike. The ancient woodland will capture the imagination of children of all ages while offering an educational experience of discovery and learning.

Find out more by visiting the Puzzlewood website.

Painshill Park and Crystal Grotto – Surrey

Image by Andy Scott via Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by the natural caves of the Italian coastline experienced on his travels abroad, Charles Hamilton designed this magnificent grotto over 250 years ago. The naturalistic cave features bubbling waters and crystal-covered stalactites that catch the light to create a truly magical atmosphere. The grotto is located in the picturesque grounds of Painshill landscape garden.

To find out when the grotto will be open to visitors again, check the Painshill website.

We’re raising money to treat key workers to holidays and days out. Show your support by donating here. If you’re a key worker planning your next break, browse our holidays for key workers page for exclusive deals.