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Virgin Atlantic announces long-term charity partners

12th January 2010 Print

Virgin Atlantic today announced that it will be working in close cooperation with two charities over the course of the next three years – the first time the airline has established long-term charity partnerships.

The airline, through its Change for Children onboard collection and staff fundraising efforts, will raise many hundreds of thousands of pounds each year to support communities in Kenya, China, India and the Caribbean.

Virgin Atlantic’s second long-term partner is The Travel Foundation which is an independent UK charity which helps the travel industry understand, manage and take effective action on sustainable tourism. The money donated through staff fundraising and passenger contributions will be spent on a variety of initiatives across the Caribbean to help local people benefit from tourism and to protect the environment. They will include honey production in Jamaica, fish farming in Tobago and St Lucia and waste management projects in Barbados. These projects will provide an income for around 600 young people living on the islands over three years.

Commenting on partnership with the Travel Foundation, Julie Southern said;

“As a long-haul airline flying around 800,000 passengers to the Caribbean each year we feel we have a responsibility to support sustainable tourism and provide opportunities for local people through these initiatives. Sustainability is about reducing the environmental impacts of our business as well as supporting the communities in which we operate. Through this partnership we can help young people really change their lives as well as helping to shape a sustainable future for the islands we are so proud to serve.”

Sue Hurdle, chief executive of The Travel Foundation, said;

“Tourism is vitally important to people in the Caribbean. Many depend on it for their livelihoods and for the future of their communities. So we’re delighted that Virgin Atlantic has committed to a three-year programme with the Travel Foundation which will help local people to benefit from the opportunities that tourism can bring.

“Together, we will help young people to learn new livelihood and business skills, we’ll encourage local entrepreneurs from disadvantaged communities to flourish and we’ll help protect the environment, keeping these wonderful places special for future generations of locals and visitors alike. This programme will not only change the lives of hundreds of local people for the better, it will also enhance the experience for holiday-makers.”

All flights will be collecting money on behalf of Free The Children and The Travel Foundation from this month onwards. Passengers can donate any loose change or foreign currency, and place it the "Change for Children" envelopes.

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