There's been so much shocking news recently - from Manchester and London in particular.
We're all reeling with the scale and unpredictability of the bombs, stabbing and Grenfell tower fire.
I'm so aware that as I watch the news, surrounded by soothing lush greenery in the Yorkshire Dales, many others are dealing with horrific challenges. It feels like we're a world away from the reality of the news. But that world away feeling could help in some way.
What can we do?
Apart from donating to the various funds, is there anything we could do that's practical, than could actually make a difference?
I think there might be and would like to ask for your help too.
We've seen the pictures and reports of people from the emergency services working around the clock, even when exhausted to save lives and comfort. We know it's their job, but it seems that they're going beyond the line of duty. Funds have been set up for victims of all these horrific incidents but what about the emergency services? I'm struck by the exhaustion on the faces of the crew dealing with the Grenfell tower fire. They had a horrific day yesterday. The next days could be even worse as they deal with the aftermath and discover those who didn't make it out of the building. And they just have to keep doing their job. How much help do they get to deal with the trauma of their experiences? The government hasn't always made those working in the emergency services feel valued. The public want to.
I think this might be where the tourism industry could help, in a direct and practical way. Could we offer some free (or if you can't manage that, very discounted - 75% off) short breaks in beautiful, restful locations for members of the emergency services who've been involved in these recent disasters? I imagine it would be in Autumn so arrangements can be made.
It's only a small gesture but I know that when the world seems like a scary place and the news is dark, many of us feel better after spending time outdoors surrounded by beauty. It would be good to able to share the peace, tranquility and restorative powers of our wonderful places with those who really need them.
I've already got a list of some Yorkshire businesses who'd like to help. Could you?
I've been in touch with the Firefighters Charity who said: We are currently co-ordinating a plan to offer support to the members of the fire community following the terrible fire at Grenfell. This is a fantastic offer and could definitely be of benefit to those involved, as we would be able to use it alongside our own recuperation services. Thank you so much for your support.
If you'd like to help, please email me, explaining what you can offer, when and if you can offer it free of charge. I'm not sure how long it will take for me to get back to you but I will when I know more. Please be generous!
Update: Thank you! I've received lots of great offers of help by email and free accommodation - thank you so much. I'll be in touch again soon. Please spread the word and keep being generous.
Updated update (Sunday 18th June): the response to this has been absolutely incredible - I now have over 120 offers of accommodation for emergency service personnel. It's obviously going to take time to get back to everyone so I don't think I'm going to update this page with all the latest offers. I'd just like to say a huge thank you for everyone who has been so generously involved. I'll post an update about how the places will be allocated soon. Thank you.
These are just some of the offers we've received so far. There are plenty more that I still need to follow up and add. Thank you for your generosity:
Thanks so much for taking the initiative. We would be delighted to offer 2 short breaks - a 3 night weekend or a 4 night midweek, free of charge. Our cottages sleep 2 or 4 and won best in Yorkshire last year and one cottage is also the best in England this year, so quite appropriate for the best heroes in England. We'd be honoured to welcome them. Looking forward to hearing more.
Regards, Diane Howarth
Cottage in the Dales
Bunkhouse sleeps 30 free accommodation for a couple of nights mid week. We can also offer Caving or ghyll scrambling free for up to 20 people. We do a similar package for help for heroes as part of their recuperation so I think it might be good for the emergency services.
Old School Bunkhouse, Yorkshire Dales
We have a 2 bedroom, sleeps 4 bungalow in Dumfriesshire, south west Scotland. I would happily offer up to a one week stay free of charge – Also own farm nearby so farm visits available.
I own a holiday cottage, the GateHouse, in Dover. It's a mini castle with turret, crenellations etc and would love to offer a 3 night weekend break (Friday to Monday) or a 4 night mid week break (Monday to Friday). The GateHouse sleeps 4, has one bedroom plus a fully sprung sofa bed in the living room. 2 dogs are welcome.
Short break for a group of 8 (10 with two camp beds- suitable for kids) they can bring their dogs too!
North Norfolk Holiday Cottages
A completely free holiday for a family of up to 4. Accommodation will be in either 2 twin rooms, or a twin and a double, or we could do a combo with singles if the children were older. It will be in our rooms with shared bathroom facilities.
Scargill Foundation, Yorkshire Dales
We are Low Moor Holiday Cottages, Scarborough, North Yorkshire and would be willing to offer a free weekend in a two bedroom cottage which would sleep 4 people plus baby in cot or a child under 10 on a z-bed.
The Bay, Filey on the Yorkshire Coast. We have a 4 bed property which sleeps up to 9 and a 2 bedroom property which sleeps 4. It might be nice for both to be booked out at the same time sleeping 13 in total (across both properties). There's a stunning beach which there's direct access to and it's lovely to wrap up and take walk on the peaceful beach or the on-site Meadow (with lots of nature to appreciate). There's a cosy on-site pub and restaurant and lots of other facilities, including swimming pool, sauna and gym. It might even be worth approaching the beauty room to see if they would offer a free treatment (e.g. Massage). The walk on the beach is very good for the soul and we have had various guests who have been going through a difficult time who have mentioned how their stay had helped. We also have Netflix and provide, wine, chocolate and candles for a relaxing evening.
I would like to offer our 3 bed cottage free of charge for a
Castle Ely Mill
We are happy to offer a 50% discount on our rates
Bank Villa Masham
Our Buck Place Cottage Filey Bay sleeps 4 and an infant on The Bay Holiday Village twixt Scarborough and Bridlington on the Yorkshire coast
We have 2 double en suite bed and breakfast rooms in Askrigg, a beautiful village in the Yorkshire Dales, www.sykeshouse.co.uk. We would be happy to offer both rooms for 2 nights free of
Alison and Michael Niklewicz
Happy to offer a free 3 or 4 night mid-week break for up to 4
Broadgate Farm Cottages
5 Star & 4 Star Gold Award Cottages
We would happily offer a 3 or 4 night break The cottage sleeps 4 people in one double and one twin bedroom - dogs welcome too.
Anthony & Joseph Duncalf
Holiday cottage scotland
I will offer some free B&B at Burnside Brace Guesthouse in Stanhope Weardale.
P.s I am dog friendly too
I would like to offer some free stays
The Kettlewell Hostel, Yorkshire Dales
We have a three bed cottage sleeping five plus camp cot and we would be pleased to offer a week or two shorter breaks (3 nights Fri-Mon or 4 nights Mon - Fri) in the autumn after Sept 8 once we have some space. We are really family friendly and have 1.5 acres of garden, where the children can play, parents can relax - we have chickens and they can collect free eggs each day. I would be interested to know how you will identify the personnel and tie them up with suitable accommodation but count us in!
Green Acre Lodge