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Leicester charity takes on romantic role by wrapping Valentine’s gifts at Highcross

Feeling loved-up in Leicester? Charity offers a gift-wrapping service in time for February 14

Charity administrator Karen Leitch (left) and volunteer Yvette Sansom get ready to wrap

Following its successful Christmas campaign, Leicester Children’s Holidays now has Valentine’s Day all wrapped up too.

Its new shop and office at Highcross Leicester is being decked out with red heart balloons, ribbons and bows. And charity staff and volunteers are inviting shoppers to bring in their gifts to be wrapped – in return for a donation.

The new unit in the heart of the city heralds a new era for the charity which used to be called Leicester Children’s Holidays Centre (Mablethorpe). It has taken 60,000 disadvantaged children on free holidays since 1898. 

The new shop and offices, in the Upper Mall, next to the Post Office and opposite Zara, is a modern showcase for the charity and is full of charity memorabilia including old photographs. It moved there in December and is the first time anyone has been able to see these artefacts displayed in one place.

The wrapping service starts on Wednesday February 12 and finishes on the big day Friday February 14. The hours are 10am to 4pm. The charity welcomes volunteers who can spare a few hours to help wrap the gifts.

Leicester Children’s Holidays’ manager Nicky Kandola said: “We raised £2,000 from our Christmas wrapping and had 200 visitors so are looking forward to welcoming more shoppers for Valentine’s Day.

Since our move to Highcrosswe have had lots of interested people popping in and it has been wonderful to increase our visibility.

“We need more volunteers to offer a few hours if they canto help us. It is a lot of fun to wrap gifts and training will be given if needed.

“We give children life-changing experiences on our holidays and help them get away from their problems at home. We want people to learn about the work we do.

“We are so grateful to Highcross Leicester who saw our vision and agreed to be part of our charity’s journey. They have done so much to make it possible.”

Charity committee member Steven Sansom, formerlychairman of Dominoes Toys in Leicester, has donated gift wrap, balloons and ribbons, and even a special high table for the army of wrappers. Charity trustees, committee members, staff and volunteers will get involved.


Leicester Children’s Holidays provides free respite breaks for children aged 8 to 11 from Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland who may face difficult circumstances at home. They may live in a low-income family, have suffered a bereavement, be a child carer looking after a parent or sibling or need a break for a host of other reasons. 

For decades, the charity helped children have fun on free holidays at its centre in Mablethorpe. In its history, it has offered more than 60,000 holidays to needy children and today it costs £450 to take each child on holiday.

The charity will take 80 children to Hilltop Outdoor Centre in Norfolk this summer.

Anyone who would like to volunteer to wrap gifts should contact Leicester Children’s Holidays on 0116 251 9863 or via email on 


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