The Family Holiday Association is very lucky to have so much support from the travel industry. But then you might expect that people who see at first hand the importance families attach to their holidays might be the first to want to help those less fortunate to also share in the benefits that even a simple break can deliver.
Last Saturday I travelled to Edinburgh to join one such company, Canvas Holidays, as it celebrated its 50th anniversary. Based in Dunfermline, the company was one of the first travel companies to offer package camping holidays in Europe.
Above all, the company understand just how much a holiday means to their customers and that’s why they have chosen to work with the Family Holiday Association to help struggling families enjoy a break away from home too.
Canvas now offers holidays on a wide variety of camp sites all over Europe. They have expanded their accommodation range over the past 50 years – the familiar blue and orange tents remain, but joining them are a wide range of two and three bedroom mobile homes, lodges and safari tents.
The company has been supporting our charity since 2009 and staff and customers have raised almost £70,000 for our work. Part of that has gone into purchasing our first caravan in Scotland at the Haven Craig Tara holiday park at Ayr which can provide 30 families with a week-long break each year.
The company also support Fife Young Carers, a local charity, who as their name suggests help support young carers. Many of their families rarely get the opportunity of a holiday and Canvas were delighted with the idea that we allocate a block of holiday weeks in the Ayr caravan for FYC families.
So it was a delight to meet up with the FYC team of Roy MacGregor and Nina Collins at the 50th celebration. We even took the opportunity to get a snap together before the official photos took place.
During the evening, Simon Allan, Canvas Holiday’s MD and a Family Holiday Association Ambassador, related a recent incident that brought home to him just how important the support for both organisations was.
Wearing a Canvas Holidays t-shirt, he had been helping at a FYC fundraiser packing bags for shoppers at a local Dunfermline supermarket when a young girl came up to him and asked if he worked with Canvas. She went on to explain her family had just come back from a terrific week at the Craig Tara caravan organised by Fife Young Carers and wanted to thank him for his company’s support. Brought a tear to his eye!
The trip to Edinburgh was short but meeting and catching up with the Canvas team is always a pleasure and being able to talk about future plans with FYC was an added bonus.