Silverdale children’s holiday camp to close after more than a century

Children from Leeds enjoying the fresh air at the Silverdale holiday camp in 2011.
Children from Leeds enjoying the fresh air at the Silverdale holiday camp in 2011.

A holiday camp which helped improve the lives of thousands of disadvantaged children will close after more than 100 years.

The Leeds Children’s Charity Holiday Centre at Silverdale is being sold and will shut at the end of this season.

A devoted supporter of the camp said she was “devastated”.

The centre on Cove Road opened in 1914 and was a longtime holiday haven for children from Leeds, many of whom had never visited the coast before.

The Leeds Poor Children’s Holiday Camp Association was first set up in 1904 to provide free holidays for young children with families on low incomes.

Today the centre still offers free five day holidays by the sea to children from the most deprived areas of Leeds.

Its facilities include a small indoor heated swimming pool, safe play areas and activities.

Now Leeds Children’s Charity has decided to sell the building and is looking for a new centre in the North of England.

“We made the decision so that we could ensure the charity could continue to serve the disadvantaged children it has always served,” said Ian Hargreaves, chairman of the charity’s trustees.

“The trustees are committed to providing a similar service and so we are actively seeking an alternative location but have made no final decision. This decision is one that has not been taken lightly. Silverdale is a superb holiday destination; the centre has helped us create wonderful lasting childhood memories for thousands of young people.”

The building is being sold to the neighbouring Holgates Caravan Park.

Mr Hargreaves said an agreement with owner Michael Holgate has allowed the centre to stay open this year while a new home is found and ownership will officially transfer to Holgates in November. He thanked Mr Holgate for his generosity.

A local committee, chaired by Edith Farrar, has been raising funds to help improve the centre and pay for trips out and treats for the children for many years.

Freda Addison from Morecambe, treasurer, said: “We are devastated.

“A lot of the young children who went there said it helped turn their lives around. 100 years of history has gone with a stroke of a pen.”