Caravan co-op is a ‘lifeline’ for Glasgow families

A co-operative dedicated to giving respite to families in poverty has been recognised at the Scottish Charity Awards. The Caravan Project, a volunteer-run charitable consortium co-op, received the...

A co-operative dedicated to giving respite to families in poverty has been recognised at the Scottish Charity Awards. The Caravan Project, a volunteer-run charitable consortium co-op, received the Celebrating Communities Award 2014.

Since 1985, the Caravan Project has been offering one-week respite holidays to families in north-west Glasgow. For the beneficiaries, a holiday is not a luxury, but a much-needed break from the difficulties they face at home, which include illness, bereavement, family breakdown and poor housing. For many, it is their first holiday.

The co-op, which owns two holiday homes in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, was shortlisted in recognition of its successful efforts to turn around the charity’s fortunes by raising £70,000 and becoming a co-op. It was the first charity in the UK to be registered with Co-operatives UK as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO), in March 2013.

Jamie Mallan, development officer for the Caravan Project, said: “We’re a co-operative made up of 12 member organisations which provide support to families who would greatly benefit from a much-needed break from home. By collaboratively purchasing, we’ve been able to reduce the cost of a holiday by a staggering 80%, and are able to negotiate deals such as reduced costs and free access to services.

“We’ve also been working with our local credit union to establish a saving scheme and we’re now promoting and supporting the establishment of similar co-operatives across Scotland.”

Martin Sime, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, which organises the awards, said: “Charity employees and volunteers go above and beyond the call of duty to make a real difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people right across Scotland on a daily basis. These awards are an important chance to acknowledge the impact these people make.”

The awards were announced at a ceremony in the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, on 5 June.

  • Click here to read more stories about different holiday co-operatives
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