Leicester Children’s Holidays

Leicester-based charity, Leicester Children’s Holidays, have provided over 60,000 free holidays for young children in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland since 1898.

As one of the city’s oldest charities, Leicester Children’s Holidays have dedicated over a century to providing free respite breaks for children aged between eight and eleven who face difficult circumstances at home. These children may be dealing with a bereavement, live in a low-income family, or be acting as a child carer.

In 2019, the Charity set out an ambitious 4 year plan, which included plans to extend its borders from Leicester and Rutland to the entire East Midlands, and to cater for even more young people by expanding age ranges to include children aged between six and sixteen, and those with a disability.

In the same year, Leicester Children’s Holidays also relocated its offices and visitor centre to the Highcross Shopping Centre in the heart of Leicester. 

In Summer 2020, Masters Allen successfully won a tender to provide design support for both the internal and external space of the unit. During preliminary meetings with the LCH team, it became clear to us that the unit needed to be a bright, inspiring place that was inviting, welcoming and intriguing to passers-by.  

From here, we produced illuminated signage and eye-catching, vibrant exterior graphics for the front fascia of the unit. The fascia was decorated with an illustrated ‘holiday’ themed repeat pattern inspired by Mablethorpe and Sheringham — two of the most prominent LCH holiday destinations.

To convert passers-by into visitors, we embellished the walls near the entrance with friendly illustrated signposts inviting them to “come on in”. We also designed a series of sandy footprint themed floor vinyls to lead visitors from the doorway, through the unit, and to the merchandise on sale — all whilst educating them that by making a purchase, they are contributing to the costs of sending future children on holiday.

Once inside the unit, visitors can benefit from the vibrant wrapping wall graphics to learn about the present and future plans of the Charity, read heartwarming testimonials, discover the Charity’s long-established history, and see archived photographs from the last one hundred years of real children on holiday with the Charity. 

In addition to the above wall vinyls, Masters Allen also produced a large format print of British woodland to serve as a backdrop for a 3D mountain bike installation, and designed a 6m tall tree silhouette to anchor a life-size zip-wire installation. All of this was done to bring a sense of outdoorsiness to the unit reflective of the action-packed holidays the Charity provides.

When we first started this project, we knew we wanted to create a space that was attractive and would draw in, and hold the interest of, the passing public. However, the more we learnt about Leicester Children’s Holidays, the more we also wanted to design something which really shouted about all of the wonderful work that they do.