FAQs for Parents/Guardians
We appreciate that you may have lots of questions if your child is coming on a CHICKS break. Please see below for some of the most frequently asked questions. If your question hasn't been answered here, then please call the Coordination Team on 01822 811020 (option 2).
A: CHICKS provides more than 1100 children with a free holiday every year. There are many reasons why your child has been chosen to come to CHICKS – the main reason will be that they could really benefit from a holiday and some time to have fun and make new friends.
If you would like to talk to us about this, please call the CHICKS office or ask your child’s teacher and/or social worker.
A: Not all children who are referred to CHICKS get to come on a break. This can be for many reasons. Please do not assume your child has a place unless your child’s referrer (teacher, social work, youth club worker etc) has told you this, even if you have completed a Consent Form already. All bookings are confirmed in writing to the referrer and they will inform you when this happens so that you can start to prepare.
A: You will be informed about which of our three retreats your child is staying at: Moorland in Devon, Coastal in Cornwall or Daleside in Derbyshire. At each retreat, they will stay in beautiful country houses in shared bedrooms (girls in one, boys in another). There is a lot of space to run about and play at the retreats including outdoor barns, basketball courts, trampolines, as well as an indoor arts and crafts area too.
A: Each break has a maximum of 16 children (8 boys and 8 girls), as well as 3 CHICKS Respite Break Leaders and up to 6 volunteers. All the adults are DBS checked and have had training and there will never be any child left alone with an adult.
A: It will be the referrer’s responsibility to arrange suitable transport for your child, so you do not need to worry about this, unless your referrer asks you to make this journey yourself. They will discuss the options with you. (About half of the children coming to CHICKS travel with their parents and the other half travel with school or social workers.)
A: Yes. You will be required to give a break-specific password when you call the office – we will send you this password one week before the break. We advise minimal phone calls for the benefit of the childrens’ experience, and evenings are better than daytime for calls as the children will be out on activities. Please be patient when calling as there are 16 children on each break, and we only have one phone line.
A: No. No mobile phones are allowed on the CHICKS break for online safety reasons. There is no exception to this so please make sure your child leaves theirs at home if they own one. Please always make sure your child leaves any games consoles and electronic items, including cameras, behind. We take lots of photos during the break, and your child will be given some photos to take home with them.
A: All children who are booked onto a break will receive a welcome pack 1-2 weeks before their break which will include a kit list of what to bring. If you have any further questions, you may ask these when the Coordination Team calls you during the week before the break.
Some common questions are:
Do you provide towels? Yes, but if your child will feel more comfortable with their own they are welcome to bring it.
Can my child bring a hair-dryer? No, we provide this on break.
Do I need to pack wellies and a coat? No, we provide both.
Will they need a swimming costume/trunks? Yes, please pack this for your child. If you do not have any items, or forget to pack them then we do have spares that they can borrow. We always have lots of spare clothes and other items they may need.
A: There is no need for your child to bring any money on their break with them. All food, accomodation and activities are already paid for. There is generally very little opportunity for children to spend any money on a break with us.
A: Your child’s medical information should all be written on the Consent and Medical Form. In your child’s welcome pack, you will receive a medical bag where you can put all your child’s medicines and label the dosage and times to be taken. Please ensure that if you have written a medication on the form that this item comes with your child. For example, if you have written details of an asthma pump that your child uses and they do not arrive on break with this inhaler, then they may be asked to return home for their safety. Please make sure this is packed.
A: Yes. If you have written on your child’s Consent and Medical form and specific needs or dietary requests, we will try, where possible, to adhere to this. We have on-site chefs who prepare home-cooked meals so they can adapt this. If there is a specific request made that we cannot accommodate for, this will be communicated to you well in advance of the break.
A: At the end of the break, your child will be given a freepost envelope as they are welcome to write a letter back to the people they met at CHICKS. We will always write back to them – this can continue for many years! We will also send your child a card on their birthday as well as a Christmas present in the year they came to CHICKS.