With the season of goodwill fast approaching, St Helens Borough Council is calling on kind-hearted residents, businesses and organisations to help make Christmas 2023 extra special for some of the borough’s most disadvantaged children and young people.
Since 2010, the council has run a gift appeal for children and young people aged from birth to 21 years – including care leavers – at risk of waking up on Christmas Day without a present.
During that time, tens of thousands of pounds and items have been donated – with last year’s appeal alone resulting in more than 600 bundles being put together, each one containing at least half a dozen items tailored to the recipients’ hobbies and interests.
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 of her work with children and young people in the true spirit of the St Helens Together ethos which encompasses the council’s approach of delivering help and support where it is most needed in the borough.
Ensuring children and young people have a positive start in life is the number one priority of St Helens Borough Council which was recently recognised with a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating for its children’s services, with some Outstanding areas, including work with care leavers who are among those to benefit from the appeal.
Councillor Nova Charlton, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “The generosity of residents, businesses, and community organisations here in St Helens Borough never ceases to amaze me.
“We are still in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis which is affecting everyone. However, I’m once again asking that we come together this Christmas and make it a special one for all children.
“Times are hard for a lot of us right now, but I know first-hand what this appeal means to so many families who simply couldn’t have a normal Christmas without it, so I’d urge those in a position to do so, to make a contribution – no matter how big or small – as it can certainly go a long way in making someone’s Christmas a happy one.”
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 babies up to 6 months and all teenagers 13 + 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 to drop off gifts which can be found in the link below.
The deadline for donations is Thursday 14 December.
For more information, including a full list of drop-off points and how to make a cash donation, visit: www.sthelens.gov.uk/christmasgiftappeal