Posted: 21 December 2017

12 days of Christmas

On the 12 days of Christmas our supporters kindly donated…

The 12 days of Christmas might not officially start until Christmas Day, but that doesn’t stop our carol singers singing about the drummers drumming and the lords a’leaping in the run up to the big day. And here at The Children’s Society we didn’t let it stop us gathering gifts early and getting them to the children and young people in our services before Santa even takes off from Lapland.

Christmas wishlists

For the first year ever, teams pulled together to work with our Children and Young people services. We found out, from those that work closest with the children we support, what gifts might make Christmas a little bit better for young people up and down the country.

Christmas sadly isn’t a magical time for many of the young people we see in our services. It’s a time of bad memories, fear and danger. It’s often a time when our staff in the services have to work more, rather than less to meet the demands of children left alone.

For children who feel unsafe, unloved or unable to cope, a simple gesture of a small gift makes them excited. It gives them the opportunity, for even a short moment, to feel like any other child this Christmas.

Helping children at Christmas for over a century

And as you can see from our 1989 tv advert, Christmas for vulnerable young people has always been hard, but we have been working to help them at Christmas and all year round for more than 130 years.

*the number in the video is no longer available

More than turtle doves and French hens

From specific gifts such as a unicorn teddy for a little girl in Weymouth, to gift vouchers for restaurants, clothes or cinemas, and toiletry sets to encourage a bit of pampering and self-care, the wish lists came in from around the country.

We spoke to our existing corporate partners to rally up support and shared the wish lists with companies who had already been in touch with us to see how they could support our work at Christmas.

We wanted to make sure that as many children as possible got what they wished for this Christmas. Very generous donations came in from Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent, The Santander Bank Operations office in Bootle, Ancestry and other kind, individual supporters, plus a large donation from members of staff.

Fortunately we received more than enough donations to spread the Christmas gifts around all the children in our services from Newcastle to Dorset.

Our 12 days of Christmas

In total we received hundreds of donations, from the unicorn teddy, to clothes and cinema vouchers, chocolate selection boxes, remote controlled cars and helicopters, toiletries, scarves, gloves, craft sets and restaurant vouchers. Many of the young people we work with may have only been to restaurants as part of a grooming or exploitation process, so taking them to have fun and enjoy an evening with their friends is very special.

In the few days before Christmas our Children’s Society elves delivered the parcels to our services, ready to distribute to the young people.

Children's Society staff delivering Christmas gifts

 

How you can help this Christmas

While our gifts are already with children in our services, it’s not too late for you to get involved with our work and make sure that no child is alone. Our 2017 Christmas Appeal is raising money for missing children. More than 2,000 children will have gone missing from home this Christmas – donate to support them and other children this Christmas.

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By Amy Dennis
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