The rare charity relationship will see Chicks-affiliated children travelling for free on CrossCountry rail services for free respite breaks to the south-west of England.
Chicks (Country Holidays for Inner City Kids) has been operating for over 16 years and aims to provide disadvantaged children and child carers with life-enhancing holidays in the countryside away from their lives of caring for relatives, or suffering poverty, neglect or abuse within some of the UK's largest cities. Conurbations such as Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Bristol and Edinburgh - which spread widely across CrossCountry's extensive rail network.
Chicks' action-packed activities include rock-climbing, riding, canoeing, surfing, field sports and team building activities that the children wouldn't normally have the opportunity to participate in.
CrossCountry's Managing Director Andy Cooper said: "We're delighted to be entering into an exciting partnership with Chicks. The charity and their amazing staff do a vast amount of work that really makes a long-term difference to the lives of the children and their families. We hope that CrossCountry can play a key role not only in bringing people together from across the country, but also show the important role that we play as part of the wider community."
Andy added: "Chicks' vision is very much about making memories and we hope that CrossCountry can help make the children's short breaks in Devon even more enjoyable. We also hope that our relationship with Chicks will help to further promote the south west of England as a great, accessible holiday hot-spot to visit via CrossCountry."
Roy Endacott, Chief Executive of Chicks commented: "Many of the children experience countryside and the sea for the first time on a visit. Staff and volunteers who look after the children are fun, enthusiastic and energetic and aim to feed positive messages to the children during their stay. Our aim is to make a lasting impression on the children and show that life can be different in more ways than one."
As an additional element of the sponsorship deal, CrossCountry's 1,800 employees will also have the rare opportunity to work with the children as volunteers via Chicks' regular activity breaks at their centres in Devon and Cornwall.
CrossCountry will also be supporting Chicks via marketing and promotional material, geared towards the activities that the children will be taking part in.
Please find notes to Editors, CrossCountry facts and figures below.
For more information feel free to contact us on 0121 200 6114
Pictured are a group of children who have recently visited Chicks from locations across the UK.
CrossCountry is part of the Arriva group which operates transport services in nine European countries, employs more than 37,000 people and provides more than one billion passenger journeys every year. For more information about the Arriva group visit www.arriva.co.uk
CrossCountry started operating on 11 November 2007. The franchise, which is the most extensive in the UK, will run until 31 March 2016. For further information on the CrossCountry rail network and future franchise plans log on to www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk
For up-to-date reports on all Chicks' activities, please log on to www.chicks.org.uk Registered charity 1080953.
STATIONS SERVED: 133
ROUTE MILES: 1,654
WEEKDAY SERVICES: 290
PASSENGERS CARRIED: Over 30 million passenger journeys a year anticipated
ANNUAL TRAIN MILEAGE: Approximately 16 million
EMPLOYEES: Approximately 1,800
LONGEST TRAIN SERVICE: Penzance to Dundee (701 miles)
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