The adventure holiday company PGL, famously known as ‘Parents Get Lost’, has announced it is welcoming families for the first time in its history.
PGL, named after founder Peter Gordon Lawrence, has been operating since 1957 and remains one of the UK’s leading providers of activity holidays for school pupils aged seven to 17.
Since PGL’s inception over 60 years ago, the children-only ‘adventure centres’ on offer have become a rite of passage for young people in the UK, helping them make friends and gain confidence while away from home.
The company, which welcomes 250,000 children a year, will now accommodate family trips in an official capacity in 10 of their 12 UK hubs.
Anthony Jones, CEO of PGL, said: "These families are passionate about PGL, gave very strong feedback, and added to my own belief that there would be strong demand for a product aimed specifically at families."
He also cited value and lifestyle changes brought about by the pandemic as the predominant reason that PGL has pivoted to include family holidays, while also keeping the traditional school trips alive.
Mr Jones told The Sunday Telegraph: "We made the assumption that when this pandemic is over, people would reassess what matters to them, their values, family values in particular.
"We felt pretty strongly, again from my own experiences, that families would want to spend more time together and spend more time doing things with their children."
The company welcomes over 250,000 children per year to its UK centres
New research from PGL conducted in early June found that 60 per cent of the parents surveyed admitted that lockdown has made them realise they did not spend enough time with their children.
Additionally, three quarters of the 1,085 parents asked said that lockdown has made them ‘change or reassess their relationship’ with their children.
Mr Jones said that the new format at PGL’s centres "fits very, very well" with their traditional school trip format and insisted that the purpose of the centres remains "about the children".
He said: "This is not a holiday for the parents per se, this is about the children showing the parents the ropes," adding that "everything we do is driven by the young people".
The 10 centres that now host family holidays as well as school trips have been altered in order to fit their new purpose, with the addition of "inter-connected family rooms" to the traditional bunk bed dormitory style.
The conventional activities have also been adapted to fit "a range of ages and abilities", so that children are able to take part in tasks such as rock climbing, paddleboarding and tag archery alongside their parents.
However, families have the choice to split up in the evenings, with various children-only activities despite PGL also adapting their evening programmes to be more family-friendly.
Though many younger children take part in these organised holidays as their first time being away from parents for an extended period, Mr Jones insisted that the family trips are still "extremely confidence-building and enriching to the children".
He told The Telegraph that May half term, which saw the piloting of PGL’s family holidays, resulted in "feedback to die for", which has given the company the "added confidence to continue to push with what is clearly a product that the UK needs now".
"We need to be a company that comes out of the pandemic on the front foot," he added.