Melton youngsters treated to free Norfolk holidays
Eight vulnerable and disadvantaged Melton children are being whisked off for a free holiday this month thanks to a charity.
The youngsters are part of a party of 80 from around Leicestershire heading off to the Norfolk coast to give them a break from challenging lives at home.
Leicester Children’s Holidays has organised the treat for the children, who were chosen for a variety of reasons such as being in a low income family, suffering from a bereavement or acting as a child carer for a parent or sibling.
They will spend a week at Hilltop Outdoor Centre and enjoy activities like archery, bush crafts and climbing walls, a tree top trail and throwing themselves off a 10-metre high air jump, plus there will also be time for a beach trip.
The week-long trips, which had to be suspended during the coronavirus pandemic, are often life-changing for the children who learn about teamwork and challenging themselves to learn new skills.
Charity manager, Nicky Kandola, said: “It became apparent as we met with parents and guardians that Covid-19 had had a massive effect on their children’s lives.
“Many of them said one of the key reasons their children needed a break was because of the pandemic.
“It was disappointing not to be able to offer our holidays last summer but we are delighted to take 80 youngsters this time over two weeks.
“This is nearly double the number we took in 2019.
“We will have 10 charity staff members and volunteers with us and, believe me, they can’t wait.”
As well as the Melton children, there will be youngsters joining them from Leicester, Enderby, Charnwood, Oadby and Wigston and Blaby.
Nicky and her team kept in touch with families throughout the lockdowns.
She added: “The situation has changed again and again for all of us throughout the pandemic but now we have firm dates, it has all been worthwhile.
“I feel for the children, especially those living in close proximity to their families.
“The holidays we offer really do change their lives and they remember them for always.
“They’ll have a great time.”
The charity, which provides free respite breaks for children aged five to 11 who live in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, has been running since 1898 and has taken 60,000 children on holiday over the years.
It has a revamped shop at Highcross, in Leicester, selling new toys and gift items to raise money for the trips.
For the first time, the charity has launched a match-funding scheme which allows businesses to team up with schools.
The school pays half towards each child’s trip and companies pay the other half, or make a part-payment, with the charity paying the rest.
Email Nicky at [email protected] for more details about the match-funding scheme.
Check out the website www.leicesterchildrensholidays.co.uk/ for information about the charity.