When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK earlier this year, the nation quickly came to appreciate the dedication, sacrifices and bravery of our NHS and other key frontline workers. Clapping on Thursday nights became a weekly demonstration of our support but many wanted to go further. Who will ever forget centenarian Sir Tom Moore and his epic round the garden walk raising £32.8 million for NHS Charities?
Give Them a Break is a new, nationwide initiative set up by a small group of volunteers from the travel industry wanting to give something back to key workers. They have been working with the Family Holiday Association and fundraising to provide holidays for heroes. Their directory is now live and includes a range of exclusive deals and discounted offers from various travel brands who specialise in UK and overseas holidays and experiences. New offers are appearing daily so keep checking in.
#MyTravelPledge was launched by Ian Rutter and Andrew Watson, the owners of the two villas in our June Prize Draw, to offer free and discounted short-breaks to healthcare and other frontline workers once travel restrictions are relaxed. Since the campaign’s launch in March, over 5,300 healthcare workers have been nominated and over 100 free holidays have been allocated.
Additionally, here are some of the generous actions taken by Silver Travel Advisor’s partners in the Travel industry to raise money or give NHS and key frontline workers discounted or free holidays.
After lockdown began, Cosmos and Avalon Waterways Chief Executive Giles Hawkes started growing a beard to raise money for NHS staff and was donating £1 for every day we are social distancing. By 20 May, he decided the beard had to go, so he shaved it off but doubled his daily donation to £2 until 20 July 2020. We followed the beard’s progress on Twitter.
In April, CV Villas offered 15 villa holidays to Corfu (including flights) in April/May 2021. They invited the public to nominate heroes from the front line NHS workers to the stars in our supermarkets, delivery and logistics companies, and from pharmacists to community volunteers. Nominations closed in May and winners were notified in early June.
Anyone not selected will receive a £300 voucher for use against their 2021 CV Villas holiday, applicable to any villa in any destination.
Revitalise Respite Holidays
Revitalise have been supporting the NHS by welcoming patients who do not have the virus to two of their centres, Netley Waterside House in Southampton and Jubilee Lodge in Chigwell, freeing up hospital beds for those who do. Meanwhile, they continued to support disabled people and carers by offering short or long stays with full care support at their Sandpipers centre in Southport.
Also in April, Simpson Travel offered 10 free holidays for NHS staff and care workers in 2021. They invited nominations from friends, families and employers. Nominations closed 30 June 2020.
Our partner TransIndus asked the public to nominate one NHS worker to win an inclusive luxury holiday to India for two people, worth £5,000 including flights, transfers, full board luxury accommodation and guides. Nominations closed 31 May 2020.
Through the ‘Give Them a Break’ scheme, TransIndus are also offering 10% discount off all their holidays for NHS workers. Book by 30 September 2020 and travel by 31 December 2021.
Our partner Travel Department is pleased to offer key workers a discount of up to £150 per booking on their holiday, through the ‘Give Them a Break’ scheme. Travel Department offers holidays worldwide from a number of regional airports in Ireland and the UK.
In April, Travel Editions’ gardening tour manager, David Hurrion, helped launch an initiative called ‘Grow Some Sunshine’ to raise funds for the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal whilst also spreading some joy by planting thousands of giant sunflowers.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
Staff walked, ran or cycled more than 6,800 miles in May, raising £1,000 for NHS Charities together. They shared their journeys online as they travelled. Fred.Olsen’s four ships berthed in the Firth of Forth have been joining in a nationwide weekly chorus of horns for NHS workers every Thursday at 8 pm.
They are offering a free Future Cruise Certificate as a gesture of appreciation for all medical professionals, key workers and employees of essential services. This could be redeemed against any AmaWaterways Europe or Asia sailing until 31 December 2021 when used with one full-fare paying guest in the same stateroom.
The Spirit of Discovery lit up for the NHS back in March and the crew have been baking bread and cakes for local NHS teams whilst berthed in Tilbury. Saga also offered their ships as floating hospitals to support the NHS, should the space be needed.
These are just a few of the generous actions taken by our colleagues in the travel industry during a challenging time for us all. For an even longer, heartwarming list, Travel Weekly has been keeping track of travel industry’s good deeds.
Compiled by Carole Tidball, Social Media Manager (non-cruise) for Silver Travel Advisor.