Leicestershire charity expansion to help more disadvantaged children

Youngsters on a Leicester Children’s Holidays trip get ready for the zip wire at an outdoor adventure centre.

A long-running Leicestershire charity is stepping up to offer more vulnerable youngsters the chance to get away and enjoy a break all the year round.

Leicester Children’s Holidays is extending its scope to provide holidays to a wider age range of children by teaming up with schools and groups such as cubs and guides, youth and football clubs to secure match funding to pay for them.

A new constitution means the charity – which helps many youngsters, including those from low-income families – can broaden its reach and offer cash help for hundreds of residential breaks and day trips, as well as its traditional summer outdoor adventure holidays.

The charity, based at Highcross Leicester, launches the match funding scheme on Tuesday, November 9 and is calling on people to support the scheme and help those children needing a break.

Its scope is widening which means financial help is available to groups like the Army cadets, brownies and scouts, any group in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland offering residential or day trips. The charity’s help is always focused on those children who would not normally get the chance to get away.

The charity’s manager Nicky Kandola said the scheme had already had some success.

She said: “We helped one Charnwood school with funding for four youngsters aged between seven and 11 to go on a class trip. The children’s families were not able to pay for them. When we stepped in, it meant that the school’s money, along with our donation, paid for them to go and they had a great time away. Getting out of their normal environment adds to the children’s education and growth, whether it be to a zoo, science centre or urban farm.

“Learning outdoors especially can be enjoyable, challenging, creative and adventurous, and helps children learn by experience and grow as confident and responsible citizens.”

Nicky said that the benefits of the scheme goes beyond the actual time away.

She said: “So many school trips lead to project work back in the classroom. The children who do not attend miss out twice, once on the trip and again on their return when it is discussed in class. We want people and businesses to come on board. The scheme means that businesses in, say, Loughborough, can help a Loughborough child or children get away on a residential trip. Sometimes we need just £50 or £100 to offer help.

“The breaks are important, especially after the frustrations of home schooling during the pandemic. Many of the children we help did not have laptops to continue their education at home. Day trips to museums, galleries or theatres are expensive, mainly because of the cost of coach hire to get there. It’s heartening to hear the positive comments from the schools supported so far. They tell us the experience makes a real difference to the children.”

The match funding launch is at Leicester Children’s Holidays visitor centre at Highcross Leicester on Tuesday, November 9 at 2pm. Leicestershire County Council chairman Councillor Dan Harrison and the Lord Mayor of Leicester, Councillor Deepak Bajaj, will be in attendance.

The charity’s visitor centre in Highcross Leicester is open Monday to Friday and is next to the Post Office and opposite Zara. It sells new toys in the centre and online and has lots of memorabilia from the charity’s history.

Leicester Children’s Holidays provides free respite breaks for children who live in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and may face difficult circumstances at home.

The youngsters may live in a low-income family, have suffered a bereavement, be a child carer looking after a parent or sibling, or need a break for a host of other reasons. The charity has been running since 1898 and has so far taken 60,000 children on holiday.

To find out more about the match-funding scheme, contact Nicky Kandola at [email protected]


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