On the first day of Glasgow schools’ summer break one of the country’s largest local authorities joined the Holidays Matter network.
Speaking at the City Chambers on Thursday 25 June Cllr. Stephen Curran said “As Executive Member for Education and Young People I am committing the Council to signing up to support the Holidays Matter network. Given that our schools broke up for the summer holiday period on Wednesday afternoon, I thought it was an excellent opportunity to celebrate the network’s role and some of the Council’s own offer in the city for families.”
Glasgow’s Lord Provost Councillor Sadie Docherty spoke of how she was shocked at just how many children were missing out on what the City had to offer. When she became Lord Provost in 2012 she had set herself the task of visiting every one of the city’s 150 schools; and when talking with pupils, many from quite deprived areas in the city, many children told her they had never visited any of the city’s most iconic venues and museums.
Established by the Family Holiday Association, the Holidays Matter network is committed to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to benefit from breaks away from home. It was set up to help bring together a relatively disparate group of national and local organisations, public, corporate and third sector that all have a stake in encouraging more people to participate in tourism. It is an attempt to build a stronger, more broadly based consortium to further raise the profile of social tourism in the UK.
Working with Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) such as Visit Kent has been one way to engage organisations in the Holidays Matter network and another has been the bringing together of local not-for-profit organisations.
In Glasgow through the charity’s work with a number of groups, primarily the Drumchapel Caravan Project and the Glasgow Children’s Holiday Scheme, we have been able to connect with the City Council.
An initial round-table gathering at the City Chambers in March brought together a wide range of city-based organisations, both public and third sector, together with Visit Scotland to hear how both the voluntary and public sectors were helping people access breaks and leisure in the city. It was agreed that a local Holidays Matter network might be a useful forum to advance the cause of social tourism in the city. The meeting also discussed the possibility of setting up a pilot scheme with a range of commercial and public sector partners and the hope was expressed that the city council might formally join the network. Just a few weeks later Glasgow became the first local authority in the UK to sign up to the Holidays Matter network.
Working with Visit Scotland and its corporate partners it is hoped that a pilot programme will be established in time for the October half term holiday to help and encourage short breaks and day trips for Glaswegians who otherwise might miss out.