School tour operator marks 40th birthday with donations for underprivileged kids

By Kate Dennett
January 28 2020, 11.25

A school tour operator is supporting charities who work with under-privileged children to celebrate its 40th birthday. 

Club Europe donated £1 per passenger to both the charities as well as money usually spent on Christmas chocolates for clients.

It will work with the two chosen charities, Keys of Change and Snow Camp, in a five to ten year partnership.

Club Europe’s managing director Tim Johnson inherited the family business in 2000 when his mother retired and has big plans for their 40th year. 

He said: “When you turn forty as a person you start to reflect – I loved turning 40, we had a lot of fun, it was a good party and a point in your life where you have kids and you start to think about what you can do for them.

“When the company turned forty it had a similar feel where we thought it would be lovely to see who we could bring with us and who we could help.”

Mr Johnson’s parents set up the company as a school ski business in July 1980 and Mr Johnson now runs the global business with his wife, Fiona.

Keys of Change founder Panos Karan will run inner-city workshops as part of the partnership.

He will teach students who might not have the chance to travel the importance of music. 

Mr Johnson said: “Panos has taken children from Japan who have been affected by the tsunami and he has created a youth orchestra that performed over here in May last year. He did that all through his own connections.

“They had audiences of three or four thousand all of whom paid very little – he just wanted to show that the kids could do something positive even though they might have lost their parents.”

Panos set up the Fukushima Youth Sinfonietta after the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

HIGH HOPES: Snow-Camp youngsters at a mountain peak

He said: “The orchestra is made up of 45 musicians that want to share with the rest of the world, through their music, that the future of that specific region in Japan, despite the tragedy of 2011, looks bright and creative.”

He is now starting a new orchestra in Chennai, India and wants to show how music can make the world a better place.

He said: “I would like students coming to our project to leave with the feeling that anything is possible, that who they are today doesn’t have to define who they will be tomorrow. That trust to others, especially adults who in many cases have let them down the most, can be restored.”

Club Europe will also work with Snow-Camp who turn young lives around with the power of snowsports.

Snow-Camp was set up 16 years ago to harness the power of snowsports to develop life-skills, qualifications and employment opportunities for many of the UK’s most underprivileged inner-city young people.

Snow-Camp’s snowsports community manager Daniel Keeley said: “We want to change the lives of the UK’s most under-privileged people. Every pound that will be donated to us will make all the difference.”

Club Europe’s Christmas donation has already paid for six young people to join Snow Camp.

SUMMER CAMP: A Club Europe tour enjoying good weather

The company will also employ local school leavers as apprentices and sponsor them to do their ski instructor qualification.

Managing director Mr Johnson sees reaching 40 as a milestone as travel companies are going into crisis. 

He wants to see more travellers being ‘responsible’ and understanding cheap travel always costs somewhere.

Club Europe will also announce an education partnership in February to teach young people about sustainability.

People can donate to the charities and read more about what Club Europe do on their website at

Related Articles