Features

Introducing our charity partner, the Family Holiday Association / “Because a little sunshine goes a long way”

17 May 2016

 
We all know how important holidays are for recharging ourbatteries and creating awesome memories, but sadly, there are over 2 millionfamilies in the UK who don’t have the opportunity to go on holiday or even takea day trip, due to difficult circumstances that include poverty, illness,bereavement or disability.
That’s why we’re very proud to support the amazing FamilyHoliday Association, a charity that works tremendously hard to help familiestake the holidays they so desperately need and otherwise would not experience.For every location listed on Host Unusual, 5% of the listing price will bedonated to the charity to fund its wonderful work.
Since its creation in 1975, the Family Holiday Association hashelped over  32,100 families take tripsto the British seaside. Its key principle is that holidays are a necessity, nota luxury, and draws on research to demonstrate the hugely positive impact thatholidays have on our lives.
The charity was set up by north London couple, Joan andPatrick Laurance, who had first-hand experience of the difference a simplebreak away could make to a difficult situation. They were living in a singleroom with their daughter Pamela, who was in poor health, and were dealing withthe bereavement of their second daughter who had been born handicapped andsadly died at only three months. Patrick had also been made redundant, and thechance of taking a much-needed holiday was non-existent.
However, recognising this, a friend invited them to cat-sitat his place in Westcliff-on-Sea while he and his wife were away. The breakmade so much difference to Joan and Patrick’s lives – refreshing them and givingthem new hope – that they wanted to give other families the same experience.
Over the next few years, the couple did all they could toraise funds to get their plans off the ground, and in 1975, the Family HolidayAssociation became a registered charity.
In that first year, 12 families went on holiday thanks tothe Family Holiday Association. The charity continued to grow, and in  2015, an amazing  3,734 families went on holiday – a first-timeexperience for 49% of them!
This shows, however, that the need for the charity today isas great as ever. As Joan Laurance, now 93, said, “It’s horrifying that thereare still so many families in need of the support of the Family HolidayAssociation. In fact, some things are worse now than they were 40 years ago.”
Of the 3,734 familieshelped in 2015:

  • 72% were affected by mental health issues
  • 33% were affected by physical health issues
  • 32% were victims of abuse/harassment
  • 38% were victims of domestic violence
  • 23% were victims of antisocial behaviour or crime.

The families helped by the charity have little or no moneyto put towards a holiday, but that is not a reason in itself for being awardeda holiday. The charity has to feel that the break will make a considerabledifference to the family’s life.
familycaravan.jpgTake the Morris family. Mum Karen had finally broken awayfrom her abusive partner, but had to move with her two sons to a new area. Withall three of them down on confidence, their social worker recommended them tothe Family Holiday Association who awarded the family a holiday. The breakhelped them relax in a safe and happy environment, make new friends and build courage.They have since found it easier to settle into their new area and have a morepositive outlook for the future.
Or the Singh family, who were being targeted by racistthugs. The family were too frightened to go outside and son Jai was feelingisolated. The family problems were compounded by his mother’s disability. Jai’steacher got in touch with the Family Holiday Association who awarded them theirfirst ever holiday. Being able to meet new people in a safe environment hashelped restore the family’s trust in others. They are now getting more involvedin the community and Jai is making better progress at school, as well as newfriends.
These are not isolated cases – the benefits felt by the familieshelped are unbelievable! Social workers, doctors and teachers all report thehuge difference the holidays can make.
Of the families who were helped in  2015:

  • 90% were able to cope better after the break
  • 97% of children had new experiences
  • 94% had a chance to spend more time together as a family
  • 90% got on better as a family
  • 91% had reduced stress and worries
  • 91% had more confidence

The Family Holiday Association survives solely onfundraising and donations, and have raised over £ 20m since its creation. Itnow owns 16 caravans across the UK in eight seaside locations, and as it entersits fifth decade, we are very excited to continue raising money for thisfantastic charity and its excellent cause.
 
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