16 November 2016

Take a break

Malcolm and Jo Rolfe have been loyal friends of Hope and Homes for Children since our earliest days. Malcolm is a co-founder of the IT company, Rolfe and Nolan, which designs software programmes for City firms.

Now retired, he’s recently begun giving talks to Rotary groups about our work. Earlier this year though, Malcolm and Jo discovered a less conventional way to increase their support for Hope and Homes for Children – by going on holiday. Here, Malcolm explains how our relationship with the leading holiday company, Riviera Travel, made this possible and why Jo and he are still so keen to support Hope and Homes for Children in any way they can.

Jo and I became a supporters of Hope and Homes for Children back in 1994 when we spotted my school contemporary, Mark Cook, and his wife, Caroline on the TV programme , “Hearts of Gold”. They were telling Esther Rantzen about their work, helping children in Croatia. We made contact immediately and asked to be added to the mailing list. We’ve been hooked on the cause ever since.

Photo, above: Long-term supporter, Malcolm Rolfe, receiving a cheque on behalf of Hope and Homes for Children from the President of The Rotary Club of Hagley, Martin Freckleton, June 2015. Top: A visit to the enormous statue of San Carlo Borromeo at Arona was one of the highlights of Malcolm Rolfe’s visit to the Italian lakes, organised by Riviera Travel who donated 10% of the cost of the holiday to Hope and Homes for Children.

Photo, above: Long-term supporter, Malcolm Rolfe, receiving a cheque on behalf of Hope and Homes for Children from the President of The Rotary Club of Hagley, Martin Freckleton, June 2015. Top: A visit to the enormous statue of San Carlo Borromeo at Arona was one of the highlights of Malcolm Rolfe’s visit to the Italian lakes, organised by Riviera Travel who donated 10% of the cost of the holiday to Hope and Homes for Children.

Over the last 22 years my relationship with the charity has taken me on two very different journeys.

Five years ago, I travelled to Romania to see the work that Hope and Homes for Children does on the ground there. I was particularly impressed by the many different ways in which the charity helps children and their families to break the cycle of institutional care – from establishing Small Family Homes for children with special needs to supporting single mothers who are at risk of losing their children to so-called orphanages.

The second journey, which took place earlier this year, was in complete contrast to that Romanian trip.

In June, Jo and I enjoyed an eight day tour of the Italian Lakes, organised by Riviera Travel. Thanks to the wonderful relationship that Hope and Homes for Children has with the company, Riviera donated 10% of the cost of our holiday to the charity.

It was a brilliant trip. We were with a very nice group of people, the guides, the hotels and the food were all good and the whole visit was very professionally organised.

We visited Lake Maggiore, Lake Orta and Zermatt where we took a train up the Gornergrat to get a view of the Matterhorn – sadly obscured by clouds on the day that we visited! The highlight of the holiday for us was the visit to the Borromean Islands, just a short ferry ride from the town of Stresa. Isola Bella has amazing gardens and the Isola Madre has a beautiful Renaissance Palace with a wonderful puppet theatre.

One of the main reasons that we have supported Hope and Homes for Children for so long is because it’s such an effective organisation. It uses its supporters’ donations to leverage funding from governments and other agencies to replicate its model of family-based care and that’s how it makes a little go a long way.

Over the years, we have attended a number of Hope and Homes for Children’s events, including the annual carol concert, and what always really impresses us is the enthusiasm that both the staff and the supporters have for the charity’s work – it’s infectious! We support lots of different charities but it’s this loyalty and enthusiasm that makes Hope and Homes for Children stand out. It was Mark and Caroline Cook who established that feeling and it’s good to know that it’s still there because it’s a rare thing.

The fact that, by booking our holiday with Riviera Travel, we also found a unique way to increase our support for Hope and Homes for Children was a real bonus. It’s wonderful to know we can support Hope and Homes for Children in this way.

Even simply stating you support Hope and Homes for Children when requesting a brochure can result in the charity receiving 10% of any future bookings. And if you are already a Riviera Travel customer, quoting Hope and Homes for Children when you book your next holiday will ensure that 10% of that and future bookings goes to the charity. You can call Riviera Travel on 01283 523477 or book online at www.hhriviera.co.uk

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