About our organisation
The Jonas Trust is a Christian-led registered charity (no. 1049167) that runs a holiday venue – The Jonas Centre - in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire. The Centre has twelve fully-equipped wooden cabins (which can each accommodate up to 5 people) for as little as £35 per night located in a beautiful rural location, together with a converted barn containing a hall and kitchen for larger groups to use, two lounges, and an office for The Jonas Centre staff and volunteers. The site also includes a small selection of farm animals, 15 acres of open grassland, and a children’s playground, as well as a designated Quiet Barn for prayer and reflection. The Jonas Centre provides low cost holidays for families facing difficult circumstances; trauma, incapacity, unemployment, challenging family situations, anticipating or experiencing bereavement, needing a break from caring roles and so forth. The charity accepts applications for subsidised holidays from churches, social services, care-based charities and other organisations who know of families or individuals in crisis or facing hardship. The Centre provides breaks for people throughout the UK and on occasions worldwide. In addition to individuals, around 50 different groups from a broad spectrum of faith and voluntary groups stay at the Centre each year for retreats and team building breaks.
The Jonas Centre uses an established and transparent referral process. People are referred to us from a range of agencies including voluntary sector welfare and support agencies, GPs, social workers, faith groups, and social services. Subsidised holidays have been and continue to be offered to anyone who is facing particular challenges in their lives and who would otherwise not be able to have a break. To date this has included:
- People experiencing bereavement
- People with dementia
- Disadvantaged young people from inner city areas
- Those facing debt or bankruptcy
- Physically disabled people
- Single parents and vulnerable adults
- People experiencing mental ill-health
- Victims of domestic violence and abuse
- Ex-offenders and people who are, or have recently been, homeless
- Children and adults with special needs, learning difficulties and disabilities
- Young carers
- Those struggling with addictions
- Full time carers in need of a break
- Asylum seekers, refugees and the homeless
During the Covid-19 pandemic we have made extra provisoon for those who have been made homeless and our work has been covered by BBC Look North and The Guardian.
The project for which we are seeking funding
Having been in operation since 1996, unsurprisingly the wooden holiday cabins are in need of refurbishment. Roofs need replacing, insulation needs improving, accessibility measures need installing, bathrooms and kitchens need more up to date equipment, and interior décor needs to be smartened up. Therefore, in order to bring the accommodation into line with best standards, we are seeking funding to upgrade the twelve cabins.
Each cabin costs £32,500 to upgrade. Since beginning this project in October 2017, six cabins have already been completed (including our first accessible cabin). Subject to finances, we now plan to complete another three refurbishments in the coming years.
Outcomes and impact
Since 2004 we have provided over 1,800 reduced rate holidays to over 3,700 adults and 2,300 children. Based on the increased occupancy so far of our refurbished cabins, we anticipate that this project will benefit 500 visitors each year (av. 3.2 per cabin per week), and a similar number each year for at least 10 years.
We measure our outcomes by comparing referral form information for each client with the data from their post-visit impact evaluation self-reporting form. Both forms include input from the client themselves and from the agency that refers them to us. Staff observations, and unsolicited customer feedback and testimonials are also received, which give us valued additional, qualitative feedback.
“We believe in giving the best to the least in our society.”
Our visitors consistently tell us that they return home refreshed and more resilient to face the challenges – whatever they may be - that lie ahead. For many, it is the first time they have been able to have a holiday. We have seen relationships healed, and the calming benefits to health of rest and respite. Referral agencies frequently comment that their clients engage better with support services after their holiday, putting them in a stronger position to tackle the challenges in their lives.
We came originally two years ago when T was suffering from front lobal brain damage following a cardiac arrest. We hadn't had a holiday for quite a while as I didn't have the confidence to take T anywhere with his condition ... The staff were so caring … and the peace and tranquillity were wonderful. I was extremely stressed when I arrived but went home in a much calmer state.
Family carer, following fifth visit
The first time we visited you back in 2014, [Dad] was in what turned out to be the final two weeks of his life. I have always been grateful for the peace & tranquillity being at the Jonas Centre brought me at that time … The break gave me the boost I needed to cope when he did pass away 10 days later.
The Subsidised Holidays Scheme has been very beneficial to those families/patients referred by myself and markedly de-stressed them in their time of personal crisis. Each family needed the unique service, care and support which The Jonas Centre provides. I noticed a difference in the quality of lives of those having enjoyed a tranquil break with you. The process was easy and everyone was so helpful and considerate. I would definitely and without hesitation, recommend The Jonas Centre to other leaders.
Rev Ian Ferguson, Chaplain, Cornerstone Healthcare Network, Blackburn
The Jonas Centre was a great opportunity to relax and get engaged with nature. We spent more time with each other, which always brings us closer together. We live in a busy city, so to come and discover nature, to be reminded of the simplicity of a butterfly, is so rewarding. Thank you to the organisers and to the funders for such a wonderful opportunity.
Member of Meeting Point, working with refugees and asylum seekers in Leeds.
Since we have completed the first refurbishments, we have seen a very significant increase in uptake of these cabins. It is clear from feedback that the better facilities provide a better holiday experience for our visitors.
The Jonas Centre cabin refurbishment budget 2020-21 (3 cabins)
Fixtures & Fittings
As stated earlier, we have now completed the first six cabins, and are now aiming to raise additional funds for the next three cabins, at a total cost of £97,500. Since launching Vision 21 in October 2017, as well as donations from individuals, we have secured grants totalling over £77,000 from the following funders:
Allchurches Trust Sir George Martin Trust
Garfield Weston Foundation Persimmon Community Champions Fund
Charles & Elsie Sykes Trust The Simon Trust
The Grant Foundation The Nias Wheatley Charitable Trust
The Laing Family Trust The Rozel Trust
The Torrs Charitable Trust The Vardy Foundation
To raise the remaining funds we are also submitting grant applications to:
Gillham Charitable Trust Vandervell Foundation
Schroder Charity Trust Trust
Lynn Foundation Philip & Judith Green Trust
Coral Samuel Charitable Trust Albert Hunt Trust
Hobson Charity Anchor Foundation
Joseph Strong Frazer Trust Rothermere Foundation
Goodman Foundation C Paul Thackray Charitable Trust
Normanby Charitable Trust Henderson First Fruits
Grace Trust Hillier Trust
Charlotte Heber Charitable Trust Farthing Trust
Hadley Trust Woodroffe Benton Foundation
Peter Stebbings Memorial Charity Screwfix Foundation
Donald Forrester Trust Cross Trust