Center Parcs UK has raised more than £1,000,000 for national charity Together for Short Lives. The seven-figure sum is the largest amount Center Parcs has ever raised for a charity partner.
Center Parcs began supporting Together for Short Lives in 2016 and raises funds through donations from guests, match funding, employee fundraising and some epic challenges along the way.
The partnership was initially due to come to an end in 2021 but, in light of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the third sector, Center Parcs has now pledged to support the charity until at least 2022.
Center Parcs’ CEO Martin Dalby said: “Over the last few months, charities like Together for Short Lives have needed support more than ever. The demand on their services has increased greatly, while their ability to fundraise in traditional ways has virtually disappeared. We have always felt strongly that we have a responsibility to give back wherever we can and, now more than ever, we want to stand behind Together for Short Lives and help them continue to make a difference to so many lives.”
Together for Short Lives want to help every child and family living with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition get the very best care and support they can, so they can make the most of every moment together.
The partnership supports the 54 children’s hospices across the UK and each village also raises funds for their closest hospice. Since the partnership began:
- Center Parcs Sherwood Forest and Head Office have raised more than £102,000 for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in Sheffield
- Center Parcs Elveden Forest has raised more than £86,000 for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices
- Center Parcs Longleat Forest has raised more than £102,000 for Children’s Hospice South West
- Center Parcs Whinfell Forest has raised more than £59,000 for Jigsaw Children’s Hospice in Carlisle
- Center Parcs Woburn Forest has raised more than £108,000 for Keech Hospice Care in Luton
Martin Dalby added: “The possibility of any child having their life shortened by illness is such an emotive subject and one that isn’t talked about enough. The work that Together for Short Lives does is fantastic, both in supporting families with seriously ill children, but also in breaking down preconceptions around children’s hospices and showing that they provide an absolute lifeline for these families. The synergy between Center Parcs and Together for Short Lives is undeniable. After almost five years of partnership, our colleagues and guests are still just as engaged as they were on the day we announced the partnership and are constantly finding new and innovative ways to raise money and awareness for such a great cause.”
Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives, said: “We are so lucky to have found in Center Parcs an ally, an amazing supporter and a wonderful friend to the charity. Reaching this incredible £1million milestone is just the best news for families – who have been facing challenges like never before these past few months, all on top of caring around the clock for their seriously ill child. It will mean the world to the children’s hospice services up and down the UK, who work tirelessly to support these families too. I’m thrilled to continue working with Center Parcs into 2022 when I know we will do even more to help children and families make the most of their precious time together.”
In addition to financial support, Center Parcs also empowers employees to participate in volunteering opportunities, as well as donating more than 100 short breaks to allow families to spend time together and make precious memories. For some families, the holiday will be the only one they can spend all together, making it all the more poignant.
What can £1,000,000 provide for Together for Short Lives?
- 100,000 memory boxes to help families capture precious moments
- 40,000 hours of lifeline children’s hospice care for seriously ill children
- 20,000 family splashes in a special hydrotherapy pool
- 13,000 sessions of community care for a child with a life-limiting condition, giving families precious moments together and allowing parents the rare opportunity to just be mum and dad
- 5,000 urgent visits to family homes by a children’s nurse to support a child at the end of life, allowing their family the chance to say goodbye at home, rather than in hospital
- 1,000 short breaks for the whole family at a children’s hospice, providing some much-needed rest and family time
- 33 specialist paediatric nurses for one year
Notes to Editors
- Center Parcs UK has been a separate company to Center Parcs Europe since 2001; the two organisations only share a brand name and the core concept of family short breaks in the forest.
- Center Parcs has six villages across the UK and Ireland; Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, Elveden Forest in Suffolk, Longleat Forest in Wiltshire, Whinfell Forest in Cumbria, Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire and Longford Forest in County Longford, Ireland. Each village is nestled within 350-400 acres of woodland with a variety of activities to choose from, restaurants and cafes. There is also a Subtropical Swimming Paradise and award-winning spa called Aqua Sana.
- Center Parcs offers weekend, (Friday to Monday) or midweek (Monday to Friday) breaks and welcomes more than 2.1 million guests each year, with 96% of guests expressing an intention to return. Visit England recently awarded the company five stars for all UK sites (scoring each village between 90% and 98%), making comments about the friendly nature and efficiency of the staff and the quality and cleanliness of the facilities.
- As the leader in the UK short break holiday market, Center Parcs achieves average annual occupancy in excess of 97%.