Charity partner and leading short break provider Center Parcs has raised more than half a million pounds for Together for Short Lives. Center Parcs began their support for children with life-limiting conditions in 2014 through the donation of short breaks. We were then chosen as their official charity partner in June 2016.
With family time at the heart of what they do, Center Parcs is committed to raising as much money and awareness as possible for children’s palliative care services and the families they help.
Center Parcs has raised money through match-funding short break guest donations and holding a whole host of fundraising activities from racing toy ducks down the Wild Water Rapids to sponsored challenges. They have also donated 45 short breaks during the partnership to give much-needed holidays to families like seven-year old Sienna’s.
Sienna has a life-limiting condition and intractable epilepsy that leaves her with very fragile health, unable to walk or talk. Parents Kay and Andy often find their focus is heavily weighted on Sienna’s needs and for the family of five to take an active holiday break in the past they have had to organise alternative care for Sienna.
This Autumn, the family were able to take a short break all together at Woburn Village in Bedford, only a few hours drive from their home. Kay shared with Together for Short Lives how special this holiday was for them.
“This holiday was a much-needed break and gave us precious time as a family. We were full of excitement as we headed out of our cabin and up the path, through the pines to the village square. The lights of the village appeared into view and we marvelled at the tall glass window of the sub-tropical swimming centre. We rarely get the chance to take her swimming so we enjoyed the chance to take her into the pool where we were all swept along by the current.”
“The staff were so helpful and showed us where the fully-equipped disabled toilets were. My back much appreciated the change table and hoist. The afternoon was spent playing badminton and then in the evening we had a memorable dinner at Café Rouge. Sienna was smiling so this topped off a perfect day.”
“The following day Sienna was not feeling so well and so Andy was happy to stay in the comfortable adapted lodge with her while I took James (14) and Ella (12) out for some quality time. Our lives are busy and our focus can be weighted heavily on Sienna’s needs. Life just seems to speed by and our older two kids are just growing up too fast.
Ella had a fashion photo shoot at Pret-a-Portrait and then we spent the rest of the day going down the slides at the swimming centre. It was such a buzz for me as it been years since I went down a slide.”
I reclaimed a piece of myself going down that slide that had got lost in the seriousness of life.Mum, Kay
“We all felt refreshed after our holiday. For us to have an active holiday we often have to rely on respite care for Sienna but we always feel the empty space in our hearts when she cannot be with us. To have her with us on this break with all the facilities we needed, filled our hearts with joy. It was so good to take time out just to have fun being a family.”
Together for Short Lives are delighted to be able to offer more families these vital short breaks in the future with the recent announcement that the partnership will be extended until 2020.