Over 11,000 children and adults were helped by the Family Holiday Association to get a break away from home this year. Most had never been away as a family.
This coming year we aim to help even more families because we know how much good a simple break can deliver, especially for those families for whom a break is well beyond their means. The post-Christmas period is the traditional time for thinking about and booking our summer holidays, but there are too many children, literally millions of children, for whom a holiday will be an unfulfilled Christmas wish.
You may already know that our work isn’t just based on intuition, although most folk accept that a holiday is intrinsically important, but that we also work with a variety of universities and have co-operated in a wide range of studies into the benefits of holidays and investigations into the sheer scale of the problem and the incredible numbers of people missing out on something most people take for granted.
Only last month during a presentation from University of Nottingham researcher, Kostas Kakoudakis, I learned how a holiday improves the way people feel about themselves; and how a holiday and what people experience by getting away can improve what academics call “self-efficacy“. Kostas’ research was specifically looking at how this improvement in self-efficacy can help people get back into work; the results were incredibly positive. Clearly Holidays Matter.
2015 marks our charity’s 40th anniversary and we hope to use this milestone to raise more support, more income and to engage more people with our message. And we have set very challenging targets for the number of families we aim to help in the coming years. Next year promises to be very exciting being full of new and challenging projects.
But with Christmas only a few days away I can’t help but look back on 2014; and I do so with a great deal of satisfaction. We have helped a record numbers of families, our fundraising income has reached new levels, our partnerships with like-minded organisations have blossomed, and the team here at Gainsford Street has been working with dedicated professionalism and great energy.
Of course, none of these achievements would have been possible without our incredibly generous supporters. Which brings me to the video clip above.
Yesterday I was invited to help judge a Christmas-themed competition at the Luton HQ of one of our most important corporate supporters – TUI UK & Ireland. (They operate the Thomson and First Choice brands).
TUI staff in their head office, in their retail shops, in resorts overseas, and on their airline Thomson Airways have been working with the Family Holiday Association for the past 25 years! They are a great bunch and yesterday the Wigmore House head-office staff went to town decorating their work “pods” on a Christmas film theme. Competition was intense and the judging was, believe me, very demanding. The standard of decoration was incredibly high with very realistic depictions of The Polar Express and The Snow Man amongst others. There were over 71 work pods entered into the competition!
The “Nativity” scene, as you might have guessed, won the prize for the most wackiest!
Everyone at TUI Travel PLC deserves a really big thank you for their support and commitment over the years. They have been brilliant.
But can I take this opportunity to wish all our supporters, both old and new, a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Let’s make 2015 a year when many more children can have their wishes come true.