Family – what does this mean to you? Whatever the size or shape, family is what makes us who we are – it supports us, it makes us laugh, it makes us cry and it helps us to grow.
For more than 30 years, Center Parcs has provided short breaks to thousands of families, giving them the chance to take a few days out of normal daily life to take joy in the little things that we can easily overlook. It might be spending time outdoors cycling together; the simplicity of enjoying a family meal sat at a table; or relaxing watching a film after a busy day of activities. And quality family time can be hard to come by these days, with even more and more distractions vying for our attention. But we know from the thousands of families who visit us each year – our villages are 97% full all year round – that short breaks we offer at Center Parcs continue to be very relevant to family life in the UK.
If finding quality time is difficult for the average family, imagine what it is like for a family who has a child with a life-limiting condition. For the families of these seriously ill children – many of whom need 24 hour care and rely on specialist equipment and environments – getting the opportunity to spend time away and make precious memories can be extraordinarily difficult.
That’s why we are so pleased to support our charity partner, Together for Short Lives: the UK charity that’s there for families facing the heartbreak of knowing their child will die young. Together for Short Lives is there to make sure that these families can make the most of their time together, whether that’s years, months or only hours. Getting the right support can make a lifetime of difference – and I’m proud that Center Parcs has made a real difference to these children and families.
raised by our partnership with Together for Short Lives in just two and a half years
We first met the charity in 2014, when we started donating breaks to them that they offered to families they supported to use as respite. From the moment we first started working with them, we knew that they were doing incredible work, offering support to up to 49,000 children and families in the UK and we knew their focus on family time was totally in tune with what was important to us.
That relationship grew, and in June 2016 we made Together for Short Lives our official charity partner – in the last two and a half years our Center Parcs staff and our guests have contributed to more than £550,000, which is fantastic, and we want to do so much more to help this incredible charity.
One of the things we love about the partnership is that most of the money we raise is distributed by Together for Short Lives to children’s hospices around the country, to directly help these amazing services. If I’m honest, before I learnt about children’s hospices through Together for Short Lives, I didn’t know much about them.
children's hospices around the UK are supported by the partnership
When we first visited a children’s hospice, myself and all the team were frankly blown away by the experience. The scope of support they offer is far-reaching for all the family. From specialist care and symptom management, giving families a break from providing 24/7 care to their child and sibling support services, to counselling and end of life support the lifeline support they offer is invaluable. And the environment that hospices create for families is really inspirational: although they support families through very sad times indeed, the hospices are places full of happiness, compassion and love, and they give children and families the possibility of enjoying quality time together and making precious memories.
The 54 children’s hospices around the country are all charities, and on average they receive only 10% of the funding they need from the Government. We are very proud partners of this very worthy cause, and we’re so pleased to support both the work of Together for Short Lives and the work of children’s hospices around the country. And most of all, we’re so proud to help the seriously-ill children and families who rely on these charities.
Martin Dalby is CEO of Center Parcs. Find out more about our partnership with Center Parcs.