Cornwall Hugs Grenfell Announces New Group Holiday
Local businesses and individuals flock to offer support
Families affected by the Grenfell Tower fire have begun registering for a group holiday, to be held in November in Porthtowan near St Agnes. The holiday is the first to be organised by Cornwall Hugs Grenfell on a private holiday resort with accommodation offered by Towan Valley Resort who will host ten families. Transport to and from London and during the week is being offered by megabus.com and local businesses are already coming forward to support the guests with entry to attractions, meals and experiences.
The holiday is supported by Avondale Park and Oxford Gardens’ Primary schools, situated close to Grenfell Tower. Headteachers there are keen for the affected pupils and their families to take up the opportunity to rest and have fun together exploring Cornwall’s wildlife, coastline and history. Guests will include Grenfell Tower survivors and those still displaced from neighbouring blocks.
‘We’re absolutely thrilled with these gifts from megabus.com and Towan Valley Resort,’ said Esmé Page, founder, Cornwall Hugs Grenfell. ‘Porthtowan is a stunning beach village and a very warm-hearted community. It’s the perfect setting for these families to make some new memories and soak up the ‘natural therapy’ Cornwall can offer. Many families are still cramped into one or two hotel rooms in London with no space or privacy,’ continues Esmé, ‘So having a break, away from the sight of the Tower and just minutes from the beach will be a very special, healing time for them.’
Cornwall Hugs Grenfell is appealing for local businesses to think creatively about what they could offer to make the holiday memorable. Several have signed up immediately including Canteen Cornwall, St Agnes, and The Blue Bar, Porthtowan who will each provide a meal for the guests and Mount Hawke Skate Park and Surf Academy who have offered skate-boarding and surf sessions. As with the project’s recent group holiday on the Penryn University campus, Cornwall Hugs Grenfell will craft the programme with sponsored trips to the Eden Project and other attractions as well as lightly therapeutic sessions. This will include a Sound Journey pledged by www.soundbathhealing.com, sculpture sessions with Pat McWilliam from Wild Art (specialised in sessions for those suffering from PTSD), massages and singing workshops. In addition volunteer drivers are coming forward to shuttle guests from the village to the resort although more are needed.
Businesses and individuals are invited to join the vision by pledging their offers via: www.cornwallhugsgrenfell.org using the ‘Businesses: can you help?’ button.
Talking of the healing benefits of the Cornish holidays, Esme Page, just back from spending time in the community around the tower, cited a recent guest’s comments, 'Cornwall gave me the time and space to deal with my ‘true’ emotions. There was no more suppressing. The calm and gentle atmosphere of Cornwall encouraged me to let out the pain and take in some of the healing. Grenfell Hugs provided the right type of ‘medicine’,’’ Hanan Wahabi, who escaped from the ninth floor but lost her brother’s entire family on the 21st floor.
‘We are honoured to be able to provide a memorable holiday to those affected by such a tragic event. So far the response from all our Towan Valley team, our suppliers and friends has been overwhelmingly warm-hearted. It's great to see that everyone is willing to give up some of their time to help. We are very excited to work in partnership with our wonderful local community to deliver what will be a memorable experience for all. We can't wait to meet our guests,’ said Nico Descotes, Resort Manager, Towan Valley Resort.
Mark Venables, Managing Director for megabus.com said, ‘We are delighted to be able to support this important visit by providing transport for families going on holiday to Cornwall this autumn. We would encourage any other businesses in a position to help to get on board and help put a smile on the faces of the families affected by the Grenfell tower fire.’
Esmé Page expressed her thanks to the community of Porthtowan for what has already been a warm welcome, ‘This is another example of a Cornish community offering the kind of humanity our guests have spoken of.’
‘I just wanted to say thank you and blessings to Cornwall to everybody who put this together - the hearts, the souls, the strength, the courage that went into bringing us down from London, not knowing us, just feeling for us and feeling everything that we felt. I think the world should do more of this. This is what humanity is about and Cornwall is a great example of humanity. Thank you!’
Mother of four on Cornwall Hugs Grenfell, Falmouth Group Holiday in August 2017.
Esmé Page via email@example.com 07803 594 285
Nico Descotes, Manager, Towan Valley Resort: 07894 215 936
Sian Freestone-Walker, Corporate Communications Manager, megabus.com: 07770 275862
Towan Valley Resort
Note to editors:
Cornwall Hugs Grenfell is a voluntary organisation set up by Esmé Page and began with a vision set out in a Facebook post on June 20th, ‘Imagine if we could put a Cornish holiday on the horizon of every Grenfell resident and firefighter family: a time to rest, a time to let our beautiful county bless these people and work its gentle magic.’ Since then the project has gathered 250+ pledges of accommodation and countless vouchers from local businesses for attractions and meal. This Summer the organisation has arranged numerous holidays for families in individual holiday cottages and group accommodation on the Penryn campus. More than 100 guests have visited the county through the scheme and by the end of 2017 more than 200 will have visited. The project is set to run until 2019.