Christmas Gifting by Child Friendly ambassadors
As we enter 2023, we would like to thank our incredible ambassadors who have generously supported various communities of children, young people, and their families over the holiday season.
The cost-of-living crisis did not deter our ambassadors from all over the city from supporting and providing for children and families in need. Organisations, their staff, and the public collected over 900 gifts, benefiting over 1100 children and young people. We consulted young people as much as possible about their interests, wants, and needs. As a result, each gift was unique.
It is often the simple things we take for granted that are so significant to others. Because of this, even during the most challenging times, we remain as committed as our partners to providing gifts to as many children as possible. Every one of these goes the extra mile to make a difference in the life of a child or young person, creating positive outcomes and opportunities for joy.
Receiving gifts is a vital part of growing up. They can boost mental health and skill development, provide mindfulness, and provide an escape from life’s pressures. The simple act of cuddling with a teddy bear can aid relaxation and promote better sleep. A jigsaw can give a child time to themselves as well as develop cognitive and motor skills. It can also be used as a coping mechanism to manage emotions and negative thoughts. Electronic devices give a child or young person infinite access to opportunities and friendships they otherwise would not have. Sports equipment can help manage health, fitness, and team building – the list is endless.
The gifts were distributed by our dedicated service providers across Leeds throughout December. They were able to target individual children and their families from various communities. It took a massive collaborative effort to get the gifts collected and then to the children before Christmas day. Thank you to every volunteer who gave Child Friendly Leeds their time, we could not have done it without you!
“I just wanted to say thank you so much for the presents. Please thank the people that donated. I can’t tell you how much they meant to me and the kids. The kids’ faces were just everything. You made our Xmas honest from the bottom of hearts.” Parent
Who was involved?
first direct bank are pioneers in the banking services they offer, as well as their work with different communities across the country. For many years they have supported children and families across Leeds and this year they coordinated a hugely successful Amazon wish list for Leeds Baby Bank, so they are able to provide much-needed resources for new and expecting families.
Trinity Leeds is home to over 120 national and international brands as well as over 40 places to eat and drink. It is located in the vibrant centre of Leeds. They have been dedicated supporters of Child Friendly Leeds for many years in various capacities. This year they generously donated gifts and vouchers for parent-care leavers and their babies and young children. They also provided advent calendars to be delivered to children’s homes at the start of December.
GRAHAM are a nationwide construction company with offices in 14 cities. Employees at the Leeds office collected presents for families, children, and young people supported by voluntary sector organisations.
Park Square Barristers are based in the heart of Leeds’s legal district. This year the wonderful staff team provided gifts to children and families being supported by the cluster teams in the city. The clusters work with those families, children, and young people most in need of help and this year’s collection was the most ambitious yet. Every present was hand-picked for a specific child. For those living in large sibling groups, multiple staff members joined forces to buy items they could all use together as a family. They absolutely crushed it and over 100 gifts were delivered to each family to open on Christmas Day.
The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) are dedicated to inspiring children and young people and embody the Child Friendly Leeds obsession of making Leeds the best city to grow up in. GSAL went above and beyond and collected hundreds of items which were then shared amongst high-priority organisations working in the most deprived areas. The Gipton Partnership got a very special visitor in a jolly red suit to hand out gifts to the children that attended their Christmas Party.
In addition to this mountain of gifts, White Rose Shopping Centre hosted an intimate Christmas party and trip to Santa’s grotto for 24 children. This was for children and young people in newly placed foster care placements. It was the first time since 2019 that we were able to get all together and celebrate face-to-face. A huge thank you to Frankie and Benny’s for inviting us into their restaurant and cooking us the most amazing breakfast. M&S at White Rose for providing chocolate treats for everyone in attendance and finally Santa and his elves, for providing much Christmas cheer on a very cold and wintery morning!
“We really enjoyed breakfast with Santa. My little ones were so excited on the way back and the selection boxes just made their day 😄 thank you!” Foster Carer
A very special mention to our partners at Leeds Rhino’s and Leeds Central Libraries. Both of which donated over 100 tickets to their Christmas events. These tickets were distributed to care experienced children, young people, and young adults. See below for quotes.
“Taking the family to watch the games surrounded by other families that our children can relate to gives them confidence to be themselves, they shout, they cheer they laugh they join in together. It’s an experience for them to release in a safe place with no judgement, no anger just NOISE. Lots and lots of noise. “ Foster Carer
“…We were all able to go together as opposed to a couple of us going due to cost and the current economic climate…” Kinship carer
And here are just a few of the thank you messages that we received from colleagues …
“…were in tears with the kindness of the gifts knowing how much of a difference they would make for the children and young people, not that we want staff crying but for all the right reasons! Genuine thanks.” Chief Executive Officer
“Thank you for the generous gifts. The family who received the Karaoke machine said they were massively grateful for the gift. Mum laughed and said they were on it every single day of the holidays and every member of the family had joined in with whatever music they liked including the toddler who has been doing nursery rhyme shows for the family. Dad was even using it to play practical jokes on the kids. Dad made a joke about it being noisy but said they have all had a lot of fun on it. Thank you again, it’s been well used so far and much appreciated.” Caseworker on behalf of family
“Thank you so much to Child Friendly Leeds and their ambassadors for providing toys and advent calendars for The Old Fire Station!
The Advent Calendars flew out to our regular Healthy Holiday attendee families and to visitors to our Food Hub.
The toys were given as gifts at our Christmas Fair – children met Santa who gave them a voucher and they could visit a stall in reception and choose a gift. This was very popular, and we nearly ran out! Many of these children will only have received a couple of gifts at Christmas and in some cases were clearly a bit overwhelmed by the wonderful choice – the range of toys for all ages was great and there was something to suit everyone. We also chose some of the higher cost donations to sell and raise money for our future events making £113!” Third Sector Partner
We say this all the time, but we really mean it – Child Friendly Leeds Ambassadors really are the best!
Are you interested in becoming a Leeds hero? There are lots of ways to support children and young people living and growing up in Leeds. For more information or to sign up as an official ambassador get in touch with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.