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ABTA LifeLine - Graphics from the website and logo

Member Spotlight: ABTA LifeLine

ABTA LifeLine is ABTA’s charity. ABTA is the UK’s largest travel association representing hundreds of travel agents and tour operators that sell £37 billion of holidays and other travel arrangements each year.

Who we are

Previously called the ABTA Benevolent Fund, ABTA LifeLine was set up in 1988 to help people in the travel industry.  If someone works or has ever worked for an ABTA Member, ABTA itself or other organisations within the travel industry who are engaged in the sale of ABTA products, they can apply to ABTA LifeLine for help.

What we do

You never know what life is going to throw at you. Travel can be a fickle industry to work in, but whatever happens, we want our travel colleagues to know that we will be there for them.  We understand the unique stressors of working in the travel industry and are able to tailor the way we help our colleagues. Life, and the solutions to struggles we all face, are never one-size-fits-all.

We help our travel industry colleagues with:

The essentials: People may struggle with day-to-day living costs due to no fault of their own. We can provide a range of support to people who might need help with these costs, utility bills, rent or mortgage arrears, and essential household items. We can also help with essential house repairs.

The unexpected: Whether it’s a sudden death in the family, a relationship breakdown or even a redundancy, it can leave us feeling anxious and worried about how we are going to cope. We can help with basic funeral costs, help to set up a new home or help with training to support those getting back into work.

The life-changing: An accident, a health condition, a disability, a sick child, all these could change someone’s circumstances beyond recognition. We can help by purchasing disability aids, respite breaks, special equipment and even transport costs to get patients to and from hospital appointments.

Our Board of Trustees aims to provide the support that each individual applicant needs.  Every case is unique and we tailor our support as required. We are dedicated to helping and supporting our travel industry colleagues when they are in need.

Why we do what we do

Some of the most common things our applicants need are household appliances. It can be easy to take a washing machine or cooker for granted, but if these break unexpectedly, massive pressure can be put on household finances. Or if someone moves into a new flat that doesn’t have these appliances already, the initial outlay to make these purchases can be totally unaffordable and could land them in inescapable debt.

In these situations, like Barbara’s, we are on hand to provide these household essentials, as we understand how easily you can get into debt or face higher long-term costs from having to use a laundromat, for example.

Eight-year-old Zach has an inoperable benign brain tumour and multiple genetic disorders, which have caused him to lose all of his skills and language. We were able to build Zach a sensory room and sent him and his family on a respite break to Norfolk. This has helped improve Zach’s development and quality of life, and gave his family the chance to make once-in-a-lifetime memories.

It’s always wonderful to hear from our applicants once their case has been closed. Our support can truly change people’s lives, just like Anita (not her real name) who, with her daughters, escaped domestic violence to then struggle to furnish their new home after spending seven months in a women’s refuge. Anita said “ABTA LifeLine made this process of moving into a new area so much less stressful, they took a lot of my worries away and helped me move in with a smile and positivity for the future.”

The situation in the UK in 2019

Need for our help has been on the rise this year, mirroring the rise of poverty in the UK due to austerity and benefits freezes. Already this year we’ve had more enquiries and applications than we have had previously. This is exactly why ABTA LifeLine needs to exist and why we work so hard for our travel industry colleagues.

During many times in our lives, we’re simply unable to cope with whatever life has thrown at us. That stress and anxiety can be debilitating. Our hope is that we can alleviate that stress and anxiety by providing people with practical things to change their situation. There are so many things that can change the balance in our lives, some big and some small, we are committed to helping our colleagues in need in the best way we can.

Visit the ABTA Lifeline website