British Airways steps in to rescue Shoreham charity’s trip after Thomas Cook collapse

British Airways has stepped in to save a Shoreham charity’s trip, after the collapse of Thomas Cook put the wellbeing adventure in jeopardy.

Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 4:47 pm

Esteem, based in Ham Road, will be taking 25 young adults to Greece for a #Change wellbeing trip with Neilson Watersports Holidays.

The charity offers young adults aged 14 to 26 opportunities to develop confidence, build life skills and improve wellbeing but excitement turned to concern when news broke that Thomas Cook had ceased trading.

Jon Rist, Esteem media manager, said: “Neilson Holidays has been working closely with Esteem to offer young adults the opportunity to travel abroad and take part in an intensive, week-long, wellbeing focused trip, which will include confidence building, leadership skills and the chance to learn watersports at their excellent Vounaki Beach resort, near Athens.

Cat Vizor, chief officer, second left, with other team members at Esteem in Ham Road, Shoreham. Picture: Disney Harrod

“The company is already investing thousands of pounds into Esteem in offering this wellbeing experience but the sudden loss of flights to their resort destinations has meant that Neilson has had to deal with finding alternative arrangements for its many holidaymakers.

“Despite all this travel disruption, they had not forgotten their promise to fly out Esteem’s young people and so reached out to other airlines to rescue our wellbeing project. British Airways gallantly stepped in and donated the flights to take the young adults safely to Athens.”

The trip on October 27 will be a fantastic opportunity for 25 young adults aged 18 to 26. Neilson will be on the lookout for new candidates for its apprenticeship scheme over the summer season in 2020.

Cat Vizor, Esteem’s chief officer, said: “This wellbeing trip means an enormous amount to these young adults, few of whom have travelled abroad before, and they are holding on to this goal to help them overcome the many difficulties they are facing in their daily lives.

Windsurfing is part of the programme, thanks to Neilson Watersports

“Our charity is enormously grateful to Nielson and British Airways for ensuring this wellbeing project can still go ahead.”

Every young person going on the trip has raised £360 each towards their expenses.

Jade, one of the lucky applicants, said: “Companies can make a huge difference by using their success to benefit the local community and improving the lives of disadvantaged local people.

“I’m quite a fearful person and this is a great opportunity to try new things, get out of my comfort zone and explore potential new experiences.”

So far, 70 per cent of the £7,000 target has been raised. Visit