“Social Tourism” is an initiative that seeks to support vulnerable or disadvantaged groups of people to be able to experience breaks away, new activities, and different cultures.
This week in Wales, we at Shared Lives Plus were excited to attend the launch of the Short Breaks and Social Tourism Practice and Research Network in Porthcawl. The Network was launched by Huw Irranca Davies, Minister for Children Older People and Social Care in Wales.
Hosted by the Wales School for Social Care Research and Linc Care, it was a full programme which included presentations from organisations who already provide various forms of social tourism across Wales. During the day we heard from a number of presenters, including STEER, MIRUS, Trinity and Carers Wales who shared the state of caring in Wales statistics with the network. (83% of carers had not had a week off in over a year, 70% suffered mental health)
Social Tourism has been shown to lead to increases in self-esteem, mental health, family relations, social engagement and participation in education and employment. Access to these benefits should be universal, and we were happy to contribute to discussions on a number of issues relating to rethinking social tourism and other forms of respite.
We were asked for responses to questions and key themes from this launch, which will be fed into the four nations knowledge exchange program. Watch this space!