Wednesday, 17 July 2024
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Wednesday, 17 July 2024

Much-loved Derbyshire charity reports costs soaring by £1,000 a week

A much-loved charity providing free holidays to Derbyshire children in need of a break has reported how its costs have risen by around £1,000 a week due to rising energy bills and soaring inflation.

The Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre is due to open its doors again next month, providing five-day stays in Skegness to under-11s who are nominated because they might not otherwise get a break.

Now the charity is reminding generous donors and fundraisers to keep it in their thoughts, saying the cost of running the centre is up by £1,000 a week compared to only two or three years ago.

Paul Duffin, a now-retired senior partner at PFK Smith Cooper in Derby, has been finance officer for the holiday centre for the past 43 years.

He said:

“Somehow every year we raise enough money to run our charity, and we do have to raise the lot ourselves. Over a three-year period costs have gone up in the order of £50,000 which is around another £1,000 a week we need to raise.”

The Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre has been going since 1891 and still provides the same purpose it did when it started: to give children experiencing struggles in life a holiday by the sea.

Children are nominated to go to the centre in Skegness via their school, and primaries across Derby and Derbyshire regularly send pupils to enjoy a week there, between the months of March and October. The centre also opens again for a special festive week at Christmas time.

The charity has a dedicated group of voluntary fundraisers and also receives donations via legacies and charitable donations from other organisations. It has raised all its own money entirely from donations for the past 20 years.

Costs that have massively increased for the charity include energy bills, a significant factor given that the centre is based in a spacious Victorian building. Rocketing inflation has had a big knock-on effect, raising staff salaries for the dedicated people who work at the centre, as well as causing rising costs for essential supplies such as food bills.

But Paul added that many organisations have been extremely generous to the charity over the years, with Skegness businesses often stepping in to offer children days and meals out, along with Derbyshire organisations such as Derby Homes working at the centre free of charge.

Paul said:

“If you wind the clock back 10 or 15 years, we had a long period of very little inflation. Three years ago, we suddenly got inflation back, and our current costs reflect that. We are affected as much as anyone by rising heating bills, rates, food bills and wages.

“This charity is something I believe in. I sometimes get over to Skegness and get to see the children there. Seeing their smiles and feedback is wonderful.

“We have over the years had some remarkably touching letters, including several from people in their 30s who have reflected back on their time there and said what a difference it made to their lives.”

The Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre opens up again in March. Anyone who would like to donate, volunteer, or get involved, should visit the website: www.dchc.org.uk.

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