Helping families make memories through gifted breaks at Center Parcs

Sunlight shining on the trees

1 December 2023

Helping families make memories through gifted breaks at Center Parcs


When the future is uncertain, every moment is a gift. These moments might seem like a small part of Christmas – putting out the treats for Santa and Rudolph, getting woken up by the little ones before 7am, falling asleep together in front of a Christmas film – but for families caring for a seriously ill child, they mean everything.


Helping families make memories through gifted breaks at Center Parcs

Our charity partner, Together for Short Lives, is there to support families, providing help and information when they need it, as well as raising money for the UK’s 54 children’s hospices through partnerships like ours. We work alongside them to help make every moment count for seriously ill children and their families across the country.


Since the start of our partnership in 2016, we have gifted 100 breaks to families across the country, providing them with the chance to create precious memories and moments together. Here are just a few of the wonderful family memories that have been made.


“We literally had THE BEST time ever!”


William and his family enjoyed a gifted break at Elveden Forest, just before the pandemic in March 2020. He is cared for around the clock by parents Emma and Andrew, and taking care of his needs is not always straightforward. For families caring for a child with additional needs, every task can feel like a struggle and a holiday away together can be very overwhelming.


Two children and their parents smile together in the outdoor pool

“Nothing was too much trouble, and they went over and above in so many ways to accommodate us. It was so refreshing in a world where everything is so hard to fight for.” William’s favourite place was the pool: “he loved the jets and the rapids. He went down slides, explored the waterfall, and genuinely just lived his best life!”


A family of 5 sitting at a picnic bench smile for a photo

The Spencer family

The Spencer family visited Sherwood Forest in June 2022 for a short break with their toddler George. “We had a fantastic time. Everything was totally accessible for George's needs, and it was so lovely for us to have a break together. It helped us make some lovely memories together.”

“We were absolutely blown away by how much Center Parcs had to offer”.


Thea and her family were joined by her grandparents on their break to Elveden Forest in March 2023. “Everyone was so accommodating,” says mum Rachel. “The facilities were so accessible (particularly the Subtropical Swimming Paradise) and we saw Thea’s confidence soar when trying things she would normally be hesitant about, like the Mini Trek. She didn’t stop talking about it afterwards!”

A family of 6 smile for a photo together in front of a sculpture of a squirrel


Sadly, Thea passed away shortly after their break, but her family wanted us to share her story to help her memory live on and inspire those it reaches.

“The memories we have built as a family are something we will hold closely to our hearts.”

(Rachel, mum to Thea).


The Starley family


Our gifted breaks are especially important in helping bereaved families to grieve and heal. After the Starley family lost their daughter Margot, they visited Longleat Forest and the Safari Park as she had done when she was younger.

A little boy and his parents pose for a photo together behind a Center Parcs photo frame

The family shared: “We went over the first anniversary of losing Margot and it was just the healing time together we needed in her honour. We had so much fun and made lovely new memories while holding Margot’s memory close."


At Center Parcs, we are all about family and are proud to support Together for Short Lives, alongside our colleagues who make special memories for families like these possible.


You can find out more about how we support families with seriously ill children at Christmas, or make a donation, by visiting:


Alex Newborough

As a marketing assistant at Center Parcs, I love hearing all about guest’s experiences and sharing tips and tricks on how to make your break special!

Marketing Assistant Alex smiling at camera.