About Green Island Holiday Trust

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Green Island Holiday Trust

About Green Island Holiday Trust

Our story

The Green Island Holiday Trust has been providing a unique holiday experience for people living with a disability since 1991 when the charity was founded by Jo Davies.

Initially the holidays were held on Green Island in Poole Harbour, from where the Trust takes its name. Imagine the fun of heading off to a small island for a week’s holiday. Staying in a two-roomed A-frame house with limited facilities, all sorts of adventures were had whilst exploring the island and harbour.

When Green Island changed hands in 2005, the holidays were relocated to Holton Lee, a well-being centre set in 350 acres of tranquil countryside overlooking Poole Harbour. The groups stayed in accessible accommodation, firstly in a specially adapted converted barn and latterly in two adjoining cottages. Holton Lee provided the perfect base for a variety of activities and for trips out on St Elin, the Trust’s boat.

In 2020, for the first time in our history, our holidays had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Inevitably, the pandemic impacted us in other ways too; we had to find an alternative base for our holidays and our boat, St Elin, had to be sold.

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Where we are today

We moved to a stunning new venue in 2023, Wraxall Yard, nestled in the Dorset Countryside. The beautifully designed, former barnyard buildings, offer wonderful, accessible holiday accommodation and provide the ideal base for us as we continue to create our holiday magic.

The personal touch

Over the years we have resisted calls to expand and offer more holidays as by remaining small and true to our origins, we are able to keep our personal touch and ensure that our holiday experiences are very special for all those involved.

How we are run

As a registered charity, the Trust is governed by a board of trustees, who bring a wealth of diverse experience and skills to managing the charity.

An appointed coordinator is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Trust and the practical organisation of the holidays.

Everything else is done by our incredible team of volunteers!

Meet the Team

Jo Davies - Founder and Patron

My family owned Green Island in Poole Harbour in 1991 when I set up the Green Island Holiday Trust. Green Island was a magic place and we wanted to share the peace and quiet there.

Although the accommodation was very basic many very happy holidays were spent there with wonderful volunteers caring and having fun with holidaymakers. When latterly the island was sold the charity moved to new premises.

It gives me great pleasure that 30 years on the charity is still going strong.

Debbie Dunford - Chair

I grew up in Poole in Dorset with views of Poole Harbour, so it is apt that I volunteered on my first Green Island Holiday Trust holiday in 2008. I have volunteered for holidays every year since then and became a Trustee in 2015, taking the role of Chair in 2018.

I previously joined Dorset Police in 1976, leaving when I had my two children in the mid-1980s. I have worked for Adult Services with Dorset Council since 1993, assessing the needs of adults with other abilities for their care and equipment needs. During that time, I have volunteered for several other charities including Rotary, the local MS group, Dementia Friendly Purbeck, Purbeck Careline and the Friends of Dorset Young Carers.

Helen Spencer - Treasurer

I was born in Dorset and currently live in Poole overlooking the harbour. I have worked in the health and Social care sector for over 35 years, in a variety of roles, overseeing regulated services ensuring compliance of care and support, budgets and staff wellbeing. I have a passion for numbers and enabling people with disabilities to achieve their outcome, I was therefore privileged to become the treasurer for Green Island Holiday Trust in the summer of 2023.

Beth Hallett-Jones - Coordinator

I joined the Trust as its new Coordinator in September 2022. I already love the variety of the role and the challenge of bringing everything together for the holidays. It’s a privilege to work with such a dedicated team of volunteers and is so rewarding to see the joy on the face of the holiday makers as they share their time together.

Previously, I have worked as an Early Years teacher as well as having had a career in PR, Communications and Fundraising for two national charities as well as a local children’s charity in Dorset, all preparing me well for the role.

Annie Ketteringham - Trustee

I have lived in Poole for many years and am currently involved with roles locally in the Court Service and Mental Health.

I became a trustee in 2019 and feel very privileged to be involved with the Green Island Holiday Trust, working with trustees and volunteers to help the charity to continue to provide the holidays which have given enjoyment to people over many years.

Jane Arnold - Trustee

I have been a GP for 35 years and am now semi-retired. I became a trustee several years ago, inspired by the wonderful founding members Jo Davies and Peter Viney.

I am constantly humbled and uplifted by the kindness, generosity and goodwill of all the amazing volunteers involved with the Trust and consider it an honour to be part of the charity.

John LeVesconte - Coordinator

Having been a volunteer with the Green Island Holiday Trust since 2010, I’ve been very privileged to have witnessed the achievements, the joy and comradeship that our holidaymakers are able to experience on a GIHT holiday. This has inspired me to take my role further by accepting the position of Coordinator for the trust, even though I will not be giving up my volunteer role.

I have lived in Dorset all my life and enjoy all it has to offer including walking and cycling and the great outdoors, and during the quiet times of Green Island, we will be packing up our camper van and disappearing to who knows where.

Philippa Dickins - Trustee

I am a retired GP having worked for 33 years locally in Bournemouth and Wimborne.

I joined the Green Island Holiday Trust in 2019 and have relished the opportunity to work with a wonderful team to provide such special holidays to some of our local disabled people.

Richard Martin - Trustee

I have spent the last 34 years working within the education sector – primarily overseeing the facilities, finances, hospitality and the human resources management at both independent and state schools.

I am married to Cheryl, who has been a volunteer for the Green Island Holiday Trust for the past 15 years. We have three children and three grandchildren. Our home is in Northwood, just outside Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

My hobbies are cooking, playing guitar, rugby and judo. Within the trust, I volunteer for one of the holiday weeks, taking on the role of Head Cook and bottle washer for the week! It is great fun as I always have a very enjoyable time.

Richard Nye - Trustee

I have, for 31 years, worked at schools in London, West Sussex, the Isles of Scilly and Dorset. For my last ten years I was Deputy Headmaster and oversaw the safeguarding provision, pastoral care and day-to-day running of my school's timetable. I live in North Dorset with my wife Heather and we have three children. I have a keen interest in the arts, sport and enjoy travelling and exploring new places.

At the end of 2021 I decided to bring my school teaching career to a close and follow my passion for music, particularly choral conducting and composing. Having known about the Green Island Holiday Trust for some years, I feel incredibly privileged to now be involved with a wonderful group of trustees and volunteers.