Can you help make Christmas Day special for care leavers aged 16 to 25?
The Christmas Dinner Project was founded in Manchester by poet and University of Manchester Chancellor, Lemn Sissay in 2013. Since 2013 the idea has spread across the UK. Each Dinner has a local flavour, organised by teams of volunteers drawn from the arts, social care, HE and local business. They come together to provide a special and fun-filled Christmas day for young adult care leavers aged between the ages of 16 and 25 who otherwise would be alone on Christmas Day.
Lemn Sissay says;
Many care leavers are sat in flats, B&B’s and hostels, away from family, or sofa surfing and some are indeed living on the streets on their own at Christmas. Christmas is a reminder of everything they never had... I know because I’ve shared their experiences... But since 2013, thanks to the work, effort and donations of many generous people we have hosted a delicious Christmas meal and created magical days to remember, at secret locations all over the UK. The Christmas Dinner is a life-changing and life-saving experience.
We are appealing for support from the local community – in areas such as volunteer hosts who can join us on Christmas Day to meet and greet our guests, give out presents, lead games and activities and many more little jobs along the way. Hosts need to be prepared to muck in and get their hands dirty; they should be fun loving, generous and warm of spirit. We need people who are good at listening, but who can also sing and dance and make a lot of noise. We need people with skills that they can offer – from face-painting to beauty treatments, for photography to karaoke. Above all, Hosts need to be willing to work hard and turn their hand to anything – just like a host at any decent party!
Please Note: You need to be 25 years of age to be a Host on Christmas Day, and all hosts will need to provide two independent referees who can vouch for their good character. If you have a younger family and would like to be involved, you can volunteer for Christmas Eve or Boxing Day.
Other areas of support include:
• Fund raising for transport costs and gifts for our guests
• Donations of gift wrap
• Support from the local business community via donations of the ingredients required to create a delicious Christmas meal for our guests
• Co-ordinators to facilitate transport on the day
• Entertainment co-ordinators
• Venue dressing and food prep on Christmas Eve
• People to help clear the venue on Boxing Day