First Rate Exchange Services has become the first company to support the Family Holiday Association’s ‘Adopt a caravan’ initiative, committing to cover the costs of running one of the charity’s caravans for a year.

The caravans are used by families in need to spend time together, especially during the peak school holiday period – and cost £10,000 a year to run and maintain. Each caravan can host up to 45 families a year on three and four-night breaks.

As part of the ‘adoption’, First Rate named the caravan Shirley in memory of Shirley Smith, an employee who died in 2018.


The FHA is aiming to double the number of families it supports by the end of 2020 – with the target of helping 8,000 families in need, up from around 4,000 currently.

Matthew Starks, director of human resources at First Rate, said “We wanted to support the Family Holiday Association because they make it possible for children from challenging backgrounds to enjoy a holiday. We and our customers perhaps take for granted a break away from home and this allows us to support children and their families to share the wonderful experience a holiday can bring.”

Angie Watson, head of fundraising and communications at the Family Holiday Association, said: “We are thrilled that First Rate has become our first caravan adopter. The enthusiasm of their team is infectious and their generosity will ensure many more families get the chance to have a vital break – giving them relief from daily struggles, a chance to smile together and create precious memories to last them a lifetime. We hope they will be first of many.”

First Rate Exchange Services supplies foreign currency in the UK, with clients including the Post Office, John Lewis and Tui. In addition to the caravan adoption, First Rate have already provided the Family Holiday Association with complimentary places on one of their training courses.

Pictured: Michelle Shepherd, event manager for the Family Holiday Association, with Matthew Starks, director of human resources at First Rate.