Monday, 31 January 2011

Helpful Holidays supports the Marine Conservation Society...

Sandcastles, a dip in the sea and ice cream on the shore are exactly what the British beach visit is about, so Helpful Holidays has chosen to help protect the UK coastline by supporting the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) throughout 2011. We recently caught up with our friends at MCS to learn more about their history and current campaigns.

MCS is the UK charity that cares for our seas, shores and wildlife. By raising awareness and funds, MCS is able to help tackle important issues like marine protection, sustainable fisheries and ensuring our beaches and seawater become cleaner.

High profile support has always been important to the charity, with HRH The Prince of Wales taking on the role of President in 1978, when the charity was just a year old and called the Underwater Conservation Society. MCS said: "We started life, miles from the sea, in a garden shed in Ross-on-Wye belonging to founder member, Dr Bob Earll. The important thing then, as now, was the people supporting it."

Diver Magazine’s Bernard Eaton and project officers Dr Charles Sheppard and Dr Bob Earll had a real passion for the coast, as did Professor David Bellamy, a keen diver, environmental campaigner and botanist, who lent his support to the team.

Since changing its name to the Marine Conservation Society in 1983, the charity has grown steadily. Now, it is the go-to organisation for information on clean beaches, sustainable fishing and marine life protection. What started as the Golden List of Beaches is now the Good Beach Guide: an online Bible for beach goers who want to ensure the seas they visit are clean and safe to bathe in.

Last year, the website was revamped, reflecting its popularity as a reference point for tourists; it gets up to 100,000 hits a month in peak holiday season. Holidaymakers are spoilt in the South West with 126 MCS recommended beaches to choose from.

The charity depends entirely on the generosity and enthusiasm of supporters. We were delighted to be able to recently donate £10,000 from our charitable fund to go towards key projects, including the Good Beach Guide and Beachwatch. You can make a donation to MCS when you book a holiday through Helpful Holidays.

You can also donate direct to MCS, become a member and help spread the word about the good work of this charity by following them on Twitter or by liking MCS on Facebook.

Look out later this week for a second post outlining some of MCS's current campaigns and how you can get involved.