There’s no denying it’s been a challenging 10 months but one of the real highlights for everyone at Center Parcs has been continuing to support and work with Together for Short Lives and Barretstown, especially at a time when we know that things have been difficult for charities.
Together for Short Lives are a national charity who make sure the 99,000 seriously ill children and their families in the UK can make the most of every moment they have together – whether that’s for years, months or only hours. The charity supports children and families locally by raising vital funds for the UK’s 54 lifeline children’s hospices. Through our partnership, we’re able to support not only their national work, but each of our villages also directly supports their closest children’s hospice.
Barretstown offers free, specially designed camps and programmes for children and families living with serious illness. Their site, located in County Kildare in Ireland, hosts regular camps, including ones specifically for the siblings of seriously ill children as well as camps for the whole family. Barretstown are continuing to serve families across Ireland through their virtual Barretstown Live programmes in 2021, ensuring children living with serious illness, and their families, continue to have access to their life-changing programmes.
Adapting our fundraising
We’ve definitely had to think on our feet and work alongside the teams at Together for Short Lives and Barretstown to raise awareness of both causes and support our village teams with their fundraising during the coronavirus pandemic.
We’ve got some tried and tested fundraising methods (who remembers duck races?!) but we quickly realised they didn’t translate into ‘the new normal’ and we needed to think up some different ideas to keep supporting these amazing causes.
When we were able to reopen our villages back in June 2020, we knew we would have to limit the numbers in our Subtropical Swimming Paradises, and the best way to do that was by booking slots.
We asked guests to pay a 10p/10c booking fee per person for their slots to go swimming and pledged to give every penny directly to our two corporate charities.
Since June, those 10p donations have raised more than £105,000 for Together for Short Lives and the 10c donations at Longford Forest have raised more than €9,000 for Barretstown!
Combined with guest donations, staff fundraising and our match funding, that takes the total raised throughout our partnership with Together for Short Lives to almost £1.2m and our total raised for Barretstown to more than €120,000!
A huge thank you
It’s been amazing to see how our guests and staff have continued to support this fantastic cause, despite multiple lockdowns and closure periods for our villages.
As part of our partnership, a number of our colleagues have been able to visit Barretstown and see their amazing facilities for themselves. They’ve created a place where children aren’t defined or limited by their condition – they’re simply children. They place an emphasis on childhood and providing opportunities to experience new things together, whether that’s high ropes, horse riding, performing or playing.
Some of our teams have also been fortunate enough to visit the children’s hospices supported by Together for Short Lives and have seen what an absolute lifeline they provide for families going through the most unimaginable time. They’re a place where families are able to be families – where parents can laugh with their children, share cuddles, make memories, make friends and, ultimately, a place that will support and guide them through their grief.
These are places where the saddest stories are told, but they are also beacons of light. That’s why we’re beaming with pride that our guests are helping us to keep that beacon shining for even more families.
On behalf of everyone at Center Parcs, Together for Short Lives and Barretstown, thank you!