The Story behind Magical Getaway Foundation

The Magical Getaway Foundation, based in Melbourne, is the only national charity dedicated to pioneering social tourism in Australia. Social tourism, which simply means providing breaks away from home for people who would otherwise be excluded, has been operating in the UK and Europe for over 60 years. 1 in 3 Australian children has never been on a holiday. The Foundation provides eligible children and their families fully funded, first ever holidays to destinations in Australia. In return, the first ever holiday recipients tell their stories of courage and resilience to the Foundation, to share with others. It’s not about the holiday, it’s what the holiday brings; including life changing experiences, family memories and hope.

Who are the people behind your business

The Magical Getaway Foundation was founded by Rosemary Teed who has been a voluntary Director since its inception. The other Board members, Sarah, Tony, Teague, Grant and Wayne, all work full time outside of their voluntary role. Our Ambassadors are Kat Stewart and Steven Bradbury OAM. Our volunteers, including previous first ever holiday recipients, provide and offer support in a myriad of ways.

Tell us something quirky or memorable about you, your customers or your business

Annalise and her four sons were referred by the principal from their primary school. They had experienced horrific domestic violence. In 3 years, they had moved to a refuge, to emergency accommodation, back to the refuge, then to private rentals until they found their current home. The family’s first ever, fully funded holiday was to Lorne in June 2018. They stayed at the Mantra and visited three local tourist attractions. Kat Stewart interviewed Annalise at our inaugural Social Tourism Forum in October 2018 about the impact of her family’s first ever holiday. There was not ‘a dry eye in the house’. Since then, Annalise regularly volunteers for the Foundation to give back. Her story is a testament to the impact of social tourism, it’s not about the holiday; it’s what the holiday brings.

These will certainly be wonderful memories for my family to keep for a lifetime. Our experience has helped with our healing. I believe that with each great memory puts a brick in the wall that helps build a wall away from the trauma these boys have experienced. Their first ever holiday has given many different experiences, knowledge and memories that I would never have been able to give them by myself ...... As a family we can really say this year was a game changer for us all due to your wonderful foundation and our awesome holiday. Annalise (first ever holiday recipient)

What is a thing you love about your business?

We are committed to pioneering social tourism in Australia, as it brings hope. Meeting the children and families, listening to their stories, receiving testimonials and hearing about the life changing impacts of their first ever holiday provide extraordinary and magical moments for the Board. A kinship carer wrote – I would like to say the biggest thank you for the amazing opportunity for my husband and l to be able to take our 2 grandchildren to experience (as the kids said) the best holiday ever. These 2 children have experienced many horrific traumatic events in their short lives which nobody should have to go through, especially young children. We still don’t know if they will be sent back home again but no one can ever take away their memories of the best holiday ever.

What is the company background?

Rosemary Teed founded the Magical Getaway Foundation (MGF) in 2006 due to her passion to ‘make a difference’ in the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged Australian children and their families. She understood through her own career, that although these children and families struggle every day, they have so much to give back to others through their stories of courage and resilience. At the time, friends and colleagues told Rosemary ‘the Foundation couldn’t be done, it would be too hard’, and Rosemary believed them. It wasn’t until 7 years later when she went to work as a Student Wellbeing Coordinator at a primary school, with over 900 students, that she knew the Foundation needed to happen. MGF commenced operating in August 2013 and currently has over 200 families on their waiting list.

What is your ultimate vision for your business?

Our vision is that all vulnerable or disadvantaged Australian children and their families have an opportunity to change their circumstances from desperation to hope. We will provide hope and lifetime changes through gifting first ever holidays to eligible children and their families; the essence of social tourism. We will continue to pioneer social tourism in Australia and make a difference to the 1 in 3 Aussie kids that have never been on a holiday.

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