Yesterday I caught the train from London to Rotherham to attend the Rotherham Holiday Aid (RHA) charity’s annual general meeting.
This charity began supporting local families much in the same way as the Family Holiday Association but for most of its history it has been working in a partnership with us in which they use our team to administer the holiday provision for Rotherham families.
We also have a long-standing agreement to match £1 for £1 their local fundraising with money from our funds thereby doubling the money available to provide breaks for struggling families in the town.
During 2015 almost 200 families were supported in Rotherham, over 700 children and parents. Most of the short breaks were in Family Holiday Association caravans at Butlins, Skegness.
Our relationship with like-minded partners is very important and I try to attend the RHA annual meeting in order to give a report on how our work has progressed over the past year and to meet with the RHA committee and their supporters.
Yesterday’s meeting was held in Rotherham Town Hall and was addressed by the current mayor Maggi Clark. Cllr Clark knows of our work and how important it is but she was brought to tears by a short video of a special trip to Lapland and Father Christmas organized by Thomson Airways for a group of families last December.
Rotherham hasn’t been without its difficulties in recent years but the local Council has been one of the few in the country to recognise the benefits that a simple break can deliver for struggling families and to actually do something about it. Ann Levick is a member of the social work team and has, as part of her job description, the responsibility of co-ordinating local family breaks with the Family Holiday Association.
This is the time of year when I attend the AGM of another of our partner charities. In March the Sheffield Family Holiday Fund holds its annual general meeting and then in May it will hold a special event to mark its 40th anniversary.
The weather was a bit bleak yesterday but the welcome was, as always, very warm.
Working with these two Yorkshire charities has provided us with a wonderful model of co-operation that the Family Holiday Association would be delighted to see replicated elsewhere in Britain.
Should you know of any organisation interested in working with us please do not hesitate to contact me here at the Family Holiday Association.