Glasgow Children's Holiday Scheme (GCHS) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation registered with the Scottish Charity Regulator, Registration Number SC022654.
The aim of the scheme is to provide a break for children and families living within the Greater Glasgow area who are disadvantaged or socially excluded. This can be for various reasons. In so doing, there can be the opportunity to help address the imbalance of support, motivating and equipping the child to break out of what might be a long standing family cycle of poverty and just as importantly, experience fun and enjoyment in a safe and constructive way.
A report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation concluded that 26% of children in Scotland still live on or below the official poverty line. Many of these children live in Glasgow.
For may families holidays are out of reach. For more than 60 years GCHS has provided holidays for thousands of children and their families, building happy memories. Each year we organise holidays for around 500 children form the greater Glasgow area. In 2015 489 children and young people, 214 families and 356 adults enjoyed a break through the Scheme. This included 97 children with a disability.
We offer three choices of holiday depending on the needs and preferences of the child and family. In 2015 we organised and fundraised for;
- 12 individual holidays in the summer with volunteer host families.
- 48 children to experience an activity based break for 2 local youth groups.
- 429 children to enjoy a holiday at one of our five static caravans at Wemyss Bay and our caravan at River Tilt, Blair Atholl. The families are able to enjoy a caravan holiday, which can make a difference to families coping with the varied stresses of disability and social isolation for whatever reason.There is only a small administrative charge to cover cleaning costs of either £40/£50 per week. This fee is waived, without enquiry, if the family indicate that they are unable to pay
- 180 children and 62 families to benefit from our Christmas gift scheme
Referrals come from social workers, teachers, health visitors, schools, various local voluntary organisations and community groups.
Again this year we are working with particular community and voluntary groups across the city to identify young people and families who will most benefit from a break.
Some children stay for a week during the school summer holidays with a volunteer host family, sharing ordinary family life with them. The host families live throughout Scotland, from Elgin to the Borders. The experience is often mind-broadening, and enhances children’s self-esteem and confidence. There is also the possibility of a supportive relationship developing between host and child. This is a common occurrence that has major benefits throughout what can be a difficult childhood and adolescence for many young people. The results can be dramatic; children staying on for further education, training for employment, reaching for and achieving new-found goals. Many of these children return to their host families annually for 5 or 6 years.