The Family Holiday Association’s chief executive, John McDonald, has announced that after 17 years in post he will be leaving the charity at the end of December.
Philippa Harris, the charity’s chair of trustees, said “John has been central to the success of the charity. Not only have we continued to significantly increase the numbers of families supported, the charity has built an impressive range of partnerships with national and international organisations and has become an acknowledged centre of expertise in the field of social tourism. He leaves with our thanks and very best wishes for the future.”
John McDonald, who joined the charity in 2001 after spells with Oxfam, ORBIS International and the Brain & Spine Foundation, said “It has been a privilege to be part of the team that has supported tens of thousands of families to reap the benefits provided by a short break away from home.
“One of my last actions has been to visit Joan Laurance. Joan and her late husband Pat established the charity 43 years ago in the back bedroom of their home in Hampstead Garden Suburb in London.
“Now 97 years old , and despite being very frail, Joan is still a strong advocate for our work with families.
“Joan, like many people, intuitively knows that holidays matter and, over the past decade and more, an increasing body of research has shown social tourism interventions delivering important and tangible social results including –
- reduced stress
- improved family bonding
- better school attendance
- increased job-seeking activity
“The Family Holiday Association is now recognised as expert in both the delivery and promotion of the benefits of social tourism.
“Raising the money to fund our work has always been a challenge but I have particularly enjoyed our work with the travel industry, from the amazingly generous team at TUI to the individual marathon-running travel agent. They have all helped fund breaks for nearly 40,000 families over the past 17 years.
“I leave the charity at a time when it is helping more families than ever before and as the importance of holidays, particularly for those who can least afford them, is being better recognised by governments across the UK. I hope that we have helped ensure that, in time, no child will miss out on the “joy and precious memories that a week’s holiday with the family brings*“.
“Having recently led the organisation through a major strategy review and with the recent launch of the new “Together” campaign I know the charity still has important work to do. I wish the staff and trustees every success in the future.
“With over 30 years’ experience in the sector, I will be seeking to maintain an interest in the charity world.”
* a direct quote from Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech to the Conservative Party’s annual conference a few weeks ago. Link – click here
From 1st January 2019, John can be contacted on John@McDonaldFamily.org.uk.