Mother Ivey’s Bay: The Holiday Park Giving Back To The Cornish Community

Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park, is a charming family-run business based along the tranquil coast of Cornwall. Originally founded by Maggie Langmaid back in 1988, her son Patrick has very much followed in her footsteps; running the park himself since 1966.

The family’s deep-rooted love for the coastal community underpins each and every aspect of the Holiday Park – from coastal conservation, to donating holidays to local residents who have never before been on holiday.

And it doesn’t just stop there. In January 2015 Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park became the first accredited Living Wage Employer in the whole of the UK, committing to pay all of their team the real Living Wage and proving that when we shop small, independent and local it benefits us all #ShoppingSmallHelpsUsAll.

In this article Mother Ivey’s Bay talk us through the truly commendable work they’re doing to give back to the Cornish community:

What is the vision for the future of Mother Ivey’s Bay?

Today Mother Ivey’s is a multi-award-winning holiday park, including winning Silver at the World Responsible Tourism awards last November. We have also received a Gold award for conservation from David Bellamy for the past 20 consecutive years (1999 – 2019).

We cannot rest on our laurels and moving forwards we have plans to redevelop our toilet blocks to meet and surpass ever-increasing guest expectations, plus we shall continue investing in our hire fleet caravans, many of which have central-heating and all of which are double-glazed.

Can you walk as through all that your business has done to give back to the community?

1. One-4-All Charitable Holidays

Working with the Family Holiday Association in London – Mother Ivey’s gifts 1 free hire-fleet holiday to a family in need for every 100 hire-fleet holidays sold. Since launching this scheme in 2013 (with help from celebrity Fern Britten) we have welcomed 90 families to Mother Ivey’s (value around £27,000).

Our logic is simple: we do not operate at 100% occupancy and holidays are like fresh food (i.e. if unused/unsold they go to waste). We therefore incur only a small marginal cost offering these unsold holidays to families in need, our ‘one-4-all’ scheme means charities don’t need to invest in their own holiday pipelines. It really is win-win.

2. Foodbank Camping Fundraiser

Launched in 2015, we invite our local foodbank to run their own camping weekend in one of our camping fields at Mother Ivey’s, with 100% of the takings going to them. This camping weekend is very popular with the locals, many of whom never get to enjoy the local visitor amenities.

3. Visitor Gifting

We invite our guests to donate £1 to Cornwall Wildlife Trust with every booking, to help conserve our beautiful local environment for the benefit of visitors and locals alike, and we match every pound donated by guests with a pound for Wadebridge Foodbank, helping those most in need in our local community.

In 2018 Visitor Gifting raised over £1,000, split between Wadebridge Foodbank and CWT.

4. The Legend of Mother Ivey

A Cornish legend, re-told in verse by my wife Margaret and illustrated by our daughter Veronika Niewiadomska, for sale at just £5. All proceeds are split equally between the National Trust for their upkeep at Trevose Head (an area beloved by Mother Ivey!) and Wadebridge Foodbank (by legend Mother Ivey defended the starving).

We will shortly donate £400 to each charity – with more to follow, hopefully!

5. Volunteer Beach Cleaning

This is a no-brainer, given we own the beach at Mother Ivey’s. Plastic is a problem for everyone, and we are just doing our bit with a weekly volunteer beach clean, inviting guests to help keep the beach pristine.

We have also introduced glass milk bottles in the park shop, removed plastic straws from the shop, and banned Chinese lanterns from our land. We’ve just done a beach clean with kids from Roche CP primary school, helping to educate the next generation.

6. Charity Beach BBQs

Mother Ivey’s is our private beach, and we let our local butcher Garry Dutton run charity summer BBQs, fund-raising for Padstow Lifeboat and Wadebridge Foodbank.

In 2018 he raised £2,000 split equally between these 2 charities.

7. Workshops for St Merryn Primary School.

We are delighted to support our local primary school, funding a workshop each year, often on our beach, and sometimes a bugs and beasties workshop in their playground! These have been delivered by our friends at Cornwall Wildlife Trust

8. Real Living Wage

I’ve saved the best to last! In January 2015 Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park became the first accredited Living Wage Employer in the whole UK, committing to pay our team the REAL Living Wage.

Patrick treats his team as an investment to be nurtured, not a cost to be controlled. Hospitality and Tourism are notorious for in-work poverty, whereas Patrick believes work should be a pathway out of poverty, and he puts his money where his mouth is! Fantastically, while the higher real living wage is of course a cost to the business, we are reaping huge benefits that more than counter-balance these costs – across HR and marketing, plus brand enrichment.

Wow, all of that sounds so worthwhile & rewarding! What prompted you to ‘give back’ in this way?

We see ourselves as custodians, rather than owners. We’ve put corporate social responsibility at the heart of our business. We find we are more successful because we don’t over-obsess on short-term annual profit. We think it’s quite sad that many businesses wouldn’t be missed by their local community if they disappeared tomorrow

What would be your advice to any other small businesses considering giving back to the community or to charities?

Stop dilly-dallying and take the plunge! But, be sensible – 1% of turnover is very generous in the context of what most businesses are doing.

Ask yourself, ‘will the local community miss you if / when your business is gone?’ For many businesses, the answer will be a resounding NO – they won’t be missed because they pay poorly and do very little in their communities. Be an asset to your local community, someone who will be missed if they move on. The best businesses have a heart!

In line with the campaign, could you please provide a comment on why you think supporting small businesses is so important?

Small businesses need their local community as much as their local community needs them! Small businesses give the high street in every small town it’s local character – a very personal service, and customers of small businesses won’t be farmed out to massive impersonal call centres.

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