Kind-hearted residents, businesses and organisations are being asked to come together to help make Christmas extra special for some of the borough’s most disadvantaged children and young people.
Since 2010, St Helens Borough Council has run a gift appeal for children aged from birth to 21 years at risk of waking up on Christmas Day without a present.
During that time, tens of thousands of items have been donated, with last year’s appeal alone resulting in gifts being shared out between more than 550 children and young people – including care leavers.
Following the sudden death of former St Helens Borough Council Chief Executive, Carole Hudson, in November 2019 – the gift appeal is now associated with Carole’s name as a legacy for her work with children and young people, no matter their background or circumstances – and is supported by the St Helens Ambassadors Programme, established to attract growth in the borough, which has led to local businesses contributing more than £2000 worth of gifts already.
As a way of minimising isolation over the festive period, local training and education provider, MD Creatives, is also working on a Christmas production and activities for vulnerable children, young people and families after their successful performance of the Lion King at St Helens Town Hall last year.
Councillor Nova Charlton, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Christmas 2020 will be a very different experience for all of us, and even more so for the vulnerable members of our communities.
“As such, we want to ensure we are doing all we can to support those who need our help. I know times are hard for a lot of us right now, but I would urge those in a position to, to make a small donation which can go a long way in making someone’s Christmas a happy one.”
Councillor Kate Groucutt, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Business added: “The generosity of residents, businesses, and community organisations here in St Helens Borough has shone through this year with the St Helens Together approach to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, and the many offers of food for children during the recent half term. Now we’re asking for your help to bring St Helens Together this Christmas and make it a special one for all children.”
Items such as new toys, books, clothing, gift vouchers, confectionery, toiletry gift sets and cash donations will be most welcome – but with a shortage of gifts last year for young people aged between 16-21, it is asked that residents consider this age range when donating to the appeal.
For health and safety reasons, soft toys cannot be accepted, and it is asked that gifts are bought as new and are not wrapped.
Collection points have been set up in various locations across the borough including:
Central Link Children’s Centre, Westfield Street
MD Creative, Unit 4-8, Barrow Street
Parr Children’s Centre, Ashtons Green Drive
Sutton Children’s Centre, Ellamsbridge Road
The deadline for donations is Tuesday 8 December.
To make a cash donation, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01744 l 675644.