THE RAF DISABLED HOLIDAY TRUST
Note from the Editor:
A few years ago, I had the privilege of working with the Board of Trustees for the RAF Disabled Holiday Trust as their financial advisor (thankfully they’re still solvent!). The Trust provides really fantastic support to RAF personnel and their families through a network of holiday accommodations tailor-made to support those with disabilities. Holiday destinations are far and wide and always of excellent quality. Unfortunately, this provision is not always widely known and many who could benefit remain unaware of the support the RAF Disabled Holiday Trust provides. In a letter to Gp Capt Sampson (copied below), the Trust’s Chairman, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Kennedy GCB AFC, explains the role of the Trust, the support it provides and appeals for donations to help continue the Trust’s good work in this, its 30th anniversary. Whether you feel you and your family might benefit from one of the holidays or you wish to make a donation, I recommend you visit the Trust’s website for more details and contact information: www.rafdht.org.uk.
This year is the 30th anniversary of the Royal Air Force Disabled Holiday Trust, formaly known as the Royal Air Force and Dependants Disabled Holiday Trust.
The purpose of the Trust is to provide adapted holiday accommodation for disabled serving or ex-RAF personnel or their families in both the UK and abroad. Since its small beginnings hundreds of RAF people and their families have been on holidays in wonderful accommodation in surroundings where every member of the family can really enjoy themselves. The very many letters of appreciation we get each year from younger, serving personnel, including several with disabled children, as well as those older and retired confirm that we are providing a vital facility which is well appreciated and one that is virtually impossible to ring elsewhere.
As a result of the kind of donations of many generous individuals and organisations, the Trust can now offer around 100 weeks of free holidays per year for those who are disabled through illness or accident, either in or out of then Service. Our beneficiaries have found that good quality holiday accommodation for people with disabilities is scarce. The Trust makes it possible for severely disabled serving or ex-RAF people or immediate dependants to get access to the right sort of holiday accommodation without the problems usually met by wheelchair users, those who have limited mobility or whose condition makes it difficult to stay in ordinary holiday accommodation. Each of the properties we use has been specially adapted to meet our needs and each is provided free of accommodation charges. Moreover, all of them have been inspected by one of our Trustees whose husband is a wheelchair user and knows what is required. Our beneficiaries take their holidays within the able-bodied community, not separated from other holidaymakers. We offer access to accommodation of the highest quality in several different locations in the UK and abroad, especially suited to the needs of our beneficiaries and allowing them to be accompanied by families, friends or carers.
Of course, providing access to these outstanding facilities costs money which is why we are seeking your support. Our work is handled by a small team so enabling us to keep our administrative costs to about 1½% of donated income. This means that almost all of any donation your Charity Committee is able to give goes directly to the basic aims of the Trust. Our website at www.rafdht.org.uk gives further details of the work we do as well as advising potential beneficiaries how to get in touch with us.
There are three major ways in which you and your team can help us:
• Firstly, please forward any donation you are able to make to Wing Commander K A Gullidge RAF, Treasurer RAFDHT, 67 Portland Place, London, W1B 1AR.
• Secondly, please encourage your staff to help identify people who could benefit from the service we provide, particularly those with disabled children. They can follow the contact details on the website or write to the Trust at 67 Portland Place as above.
• Finally, it would be a great help if you could arrange to include a short piece about the Trust in your Station or Unit magazine. A draft can be provided via the email address on the website.
We are anxious to ensure that what we offer is made known to the widest possible audience particularly amongst those possible beneficiaries serving on our stations and units today. We look forward to hearing from you.