In the last five years, 790 children from across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland have enjoyed trips arranged by the charity - and it wants more.
A free adventure holiday by the sea was enjoyed by 44 children recently, thanks to county charity Leicester Children’s Holidays that is looking to expand and offer more trips.
The charity has given 60,000 children a holiday over many decades and is currently with children on its latest fun trip. They returned in early August.
Between 2013 and 2018, 790 children from across the counties went on the trips and the charity is keen to increase this number.
The charity has been shortlisted for a Leicester Nachural Entrepreneurship Awards 2019 in the category community excellence, diversity and inclusion.
Leicester Children’s Holiday’s slogan is “Every child needs a holiday” and this is the 121st year it has been offering the breaks, drawing in children from Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland. For many children, it is a life-changing experience in their young lives.
The youngsters are enjoying a week at the Hilltop Outdoor Centre near Sheringham in Norfolk, an adventure base right on the coast with an emphasis on fun. As well as offering a ‘bucket and spade’ holiday, the qualified staff engage with them and help them work together as a team - and create happy memories. The children are encouraged to develop a fresh outlook on life.
There are zip wires, climbing walls, mountain bikes, den building and exploring in rock pools- and lots of group activities.
Children between the ages of eight and 11 go on the all-expenses paid holidays. The youngsters are recommended by schools, charities, food banks and agencies such as social services. Between 2013 and 2018, 43% of the children who went on a holiday were from Leicestershire and Rutland and 57% from Leicester.
The charity’s manager is Nicky Kandola, a former head teacher in Leicestershire whose experience working with children makes her ideal for the role. She said: “The children we help are from all kinds of backgrounds who need a break and a chance to enjoy themselves. For some, they are a life-changing experience.
“We have been part of Leicestershire for a long time and when we organise fund-raisers or supermarket collections, we always get people coming up to us and saying: ‘I went on one of your holidays, it was brilliant.
“Sometimes parents need a helping hand and that is where we come in. Recently one mum told me her daughter went on one of our trips. She was upset she couldn’t provide a holiday for her daughter, but that daughter now has a job at the BBC.”
Part of the new management team set up earlier this year includes chair Parvez Bhatty. He said: “We have some amazing volunteers who have been with us for years and years. We are very keen to expand the holidays and eventually offer more weeks away in the summer and even breaks at half-term.”
“The committee, many of whom are trustees, also want to steadily increase the number of children enjoying our holidays each year and build on our successes in the past. For this we need the support of the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.”
Go on to the Leicester Children’s Holidays website to put forward a child to enjoy one of the trips.