Latest News | 16 February 2023

Mums and school staff pay tribute to holiday centre

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Mums and staff at a Derby primary school have paid tribute to Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre for providing breaks to youngsters.

Over the years, Firs Primary School, in Stockbrook, has sent many children to the holiday home in Skegness, on the Lincolnshire coast.

The centre is a 132-year-old charity that funds five-day stays for children whose family life means they would not get a break any other way.

The first bus load of youngsters is due to set off for their week by the sea in March.

Children are chosen to go if it is felt they would benefit from a break and their families may otherwise not be able to fund a holiday.

Many children come from homes where there is plenty of love but tough financial times have bitten hard.

Parents at Firs Primary School, where 60 per cent of children are on free school meals, said particularly with the rise in cost of living, a holiday was out of their reach, and they were grateful to the charity for providing their young ones with a week’s break by the sea.

Mum-of-six Nikki White said three of her children had enjoyed a holiday at the centre: Tyler, now 13, CJ, eight, and Jessica, six.

She said: “I’m gutted because I couldn’t take them myself, but I’m happy that they get to go and have that experience, and also that separation from me, which gets them used to being away from me.

“Tyler absolutely loved it, just being able to make new friends and get a bit of his own independence.

“He went once at Christmas and came back with a sack full of presents, and he’s still got the coat he got. The coat he wears for school is the coat he got from the Skeggy home.

“When they come back, they’re not being naughty – all they want to talk about is what they’ve done.”

Shannon McCrudden went to the centre herself as a child – and her two children, Lexi and Layton, have both been.

She said: “It gives the kids a break. It gives them that chance to be away from me – they’d never been away from me before.”

Over the years, the school has raised money for the holiday centre through jumble sales and other low-cost activities, with a matching scheme from Railcare meaning they were able to hand over £2,200 last November.

Headteacher Paula Martin said that at the school, where many families live on very low incomes, the Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre was the only charity it supported in terms of fundraising as thanks to the charity for giving so many of its pupils a week’s holiday.

She said: “There’s a lot of poverty here. Lots of children haven’t seen the sea before. These mums never put themselves first – their children always come first.”

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