The latest stories, straight to your inbox

The latest stories, straight to your inbox

Be inspired every day with Living North

Subscribe today and get every issue delivered direct to your door
Subscribe Now
Be inspired every day with Living North

Meet The Yorkshire Charity Taking Underprivileged Kids and Their Families on Summer Holidays

Meet The Yorkshire Charity Taking Underprivileged Kids and Their Families on Summer Holidays The Principle Trust Children's Charity
May 2024
Reading time 3 Minutes

This charity knows all about the value of a simple summer holiday with the people you love

As part of our continuing series highlighting the invaluable work of charities across Yorkshire, Living North caught up with Mike Davies MBE, who set up The Principle Trust Children's Charity to provide free holidays for disadvantaged children and their families in Yorkshire.

Many of us would consider a summer holiday with family or friends, no matter how big or small, a given – but for many families this is not the case. The Principle Trust Children’s Charity, based in Yorkshire, is dedicated to providing free holidays for children who would not get the chance to enjoy one otherwise, for any number of reasons.

For Mike Davies, the motivation was personal after losing his own mother at a young age and having a difficult upbringing as a result. ‘My personal disadvantages in growing up without a mum and seeing other people going off on family holidays which we never really had the opportunity for was significant,’ he says. ‘In 2011 I decided I was going to do something. We had lengthy conversations with a number of organisations and a director of social services came to see us and talked to us about the level of underprivileged and disadvantaged children in North Yorkshire, which actually staggered us because we perceive North Yorkshire to be relatively affluent.

Read More: How This Mum and Former Teacher is Supporting Children's Mental Wellbeing

child holding arms up with a rainbow windmill on a sand dune

‘What we found out was an awful lot of children do not get a holiday,’ he goes on. ‘So do we try to get a holiday home in the Dales? We were told that would be lovely, but a lot of the children do see green fields, sheep and cows on a fairly regular basis. What they don’t see is the sea. The three ladies who were helping me went off and found a smashing holiday park and purchased two luxury caravans. That’s how it started.’

The charity now has four caravans in Blackpool and two lodges on Windermere. Mike and the team have spared no detail in making sure the holiday homes are exactly what the families (who are referred to the charity through its partner organisations) need. ‘At Blackpool, they have that many amenities that actually the families needn’t move off the park, but if they did there’s plenty to do,’ he explains. The lodges in Windermere were acquired with the specific intention of being a quieter place for children with disabilities to relax. ‘Five years ago we had the opportunity of increasing the number of homes but we decided to stop and think about if we were accommodating all the different types of children and the answer was no. We really didn’t provide anything for disabled children or those with additional needs.

‘We decided to try and find somewhere that was quieter and we came across the White Cross Bay Holiday Park on the banks of Windermere.’ They then looked into specific modifications that could be made to make them more accessible. This included inserting ramps, widening door frames, swapping carpets for laminate floors (for wheelchair mobility), installing an electric hoist to help with bed time routines and having a profiling bed that can go up and down. ‘So we now have two wooden lodges that are proving extremely useful. People are incredibly pleased by the opportunity to have somewhere that they can take their child who has additional needs,’ Mike says.

Read More: How This North East Publishing Company is Keeping an Author's Legacy Going

Recently, the charity has also made the move to alleviate even more pressure from the families they help by providing them with a week’s worth of food for their holiday for free. ‘We started out last year in Blackpool and we provided for every holidaymaker if they wanted it. They check in on Saturday and by Saturday at 5pm the Morrisons van has turned up and delivered to them about £100 worth of food which covers breakfast, lunch, dinner, fruit and snacks. The benefit being that the families wouldn’t have to spend so much money on food, so they could spend it on the children.’

Operating since 2011, The Principle Trust Children’s Charity has recently hit a major mile stone – 5,000 children helped. Although Mike and the team are thrilled, for the charity it was never about the numbers. Always thinking ahead, Mike has big plans for 2024. ‘We aim to continue doing what we’re doing, to continue to raise more money than the charity needs to operate and by doing that it will give us the opportunity to acquire more homes. What we have now decided to do is base at least the next home or maybe two homes, on the east coast.’ This extended spread will mean that the charity can reach more families than ever before.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

Please read our Cookie policy.