The Family Holiday Association’s first paid employee – Fiona Hills

150415FionaHillsA special post by Jenni Smith an early trustee. 

Fiona Hills first joined founders Patrick and Joan Laurance in their spare room/office at Hill Close, Hampstead Garden Suburb in 1975. At that time Pat and Joan were running highly successful coffee mornings but were beginning to think that there was a bigger scene of fundraising “out there”.

Fiona lived locally and, following a career in national journalism and bringing up three children, she was keen to be involved in something demanding.  Fiona became the charity’s first administrator and was responsible for the smooth running of the office and liaised with social workers and other referrers about how to access a holiday for a family.  She also followed up the decisions made by a group of volunteer child-care professionals who, together with Patrick and Joan, met regularly in the Hill Close sitting room to discuss family referrals. These were very interesting meetings using referral forms developed by Fiona and sent out to social workers and care workers on request.  Fiona then acted on the group’s decision in awarding grants using Joan’s strict criteria and sometimes had to give the sad message of …”perhaps next year”. Continue reading