Leicester Children’s Holiday Centre in Mablethorpe has been in existence for over 100 years. Its purpose is to provide free traditional seaside holidays for disadvantaged children who would not normally get a holiday.
In 2015 the centre was awarded funding from the Bobby Dhanjal Foundation, a fund managed by Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation.
Marea Roberts a Trustee at Leicester Children’s Holiday Centre said, ‘There are numerous reasons why children need these holidays; their parents may be estranged, imprisoned or in hospital. It may be that their parents are simply unable to care properly for their children through poverty, drink or substance abuse, or other reasons. Some children act as carers and may have little or no ‘childhood’.
We take the children of asylum seekers and refugees as well as those indigenous to Leicester and Leicestershire. Our sole criterion is the benefit to the child.
While on holiday the children eat local fresh food, sitting together at tables, learning social skills, manners and consideration. They visit local cinemas and shops, amusement parks and, using their own ‘secret path’ over the dunes, play (supervised) on the beach and in the sea. The Centre has its own play equipment and the staff organise games, projects and educational activities. Without realising it, children keep up their educational levels while on holiday helping to reduce the long ‘lull’ during the summer vacation.
Whenever we meet ex-holidaymakers, there are tiny anecdotes such as “When I went as a girl, they taught us all to knit. That has given me pleasure all my life.” (Pensioner); or “What did you like best about the holiday?”; “Custard!” from an 8 year old holidaymaker.”
Over the years, more than 55,000 children have benefited from the Charity’s work and most remember their time at the Centre as a magical interlude in an often grim childhood. Loyalty among the people of Leicester and County is very high.’
Children enjoy a communal room at the centre and the grant from Bobby Dhanjal which was used to replace sofas with hardwearing and comfortable new ones has made a real difference.
Marea goes on to say, “Trustees and staff want the children to feel valued and quality furniture plays an important part of the overall ambiance of the centre.”
If you would like to set up your own fund that works to support charities and groups in the local community, contact Katy Green, Chief Executive at Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation: firstname.lastname@example.org & 0116 2624 916.