The carols have been sung at the top of their lungs. The plays have been met with rapturous applause. The crafty cards have been covered with glitter – and by the time children break up for the Christmas holidays, their excitement has reached new heights. The food! The fun! The presents!
It’s a wonderful time of the year. But what if you’re one of the four million UK children living in poverty?
Almost 40% of disadvantaged children won’t receive a single gift this year. With families struggling to cover the cost of basic needs, presents under a tree are simply impossible to afford.
And whether a child understands (and dreads the festive season) or hasn’t yet realised that, despite how good they’ve been, Santa won’t be stopping by – we find it heartbreaking that they’ll be going without.
So we called on our friends, the SHS partners and companies that support us, to don their Secret Santa hats and make a difference this Christmas.
SHS frontline practitioners selected pupils with the greatest need, passing the lists to volunteers at 15 companies. The volunteers galvanized support in their respective offices, encouraging fellow colleagues to take part and a make a child’s Christmas really special. They sourced wonderful presents to suit each young person, wrapped them beautifully, and delivered them to the schools.
And the result?
Wonderful gifts for over 900 children supported by SHS!
|“Thank you so much – made me cry how you made such an effort for my children.”|
|“I didn’t think I’d be able to get anything for my girls as we’re struggling with debt. Thank you so much.”|
|“He’s come home so pleased with his gift and is beaming from ear to ear. Thank you so, so much!”|
|“It means so much to me that she has a really nice gift I wouldn’t have been able to give her.”|
|“Mum was very grateful. This will help them a lot as they are struggling and the family are also relying on food banks over Christmas.”|
|These gifts make such a big difference to their lives. One student cried – both her mum and brother are disabled and her dad has health problems. She said to me that nothing good happens to her.”|
“One family were considering borrowing from a doorstep lender to cover the cost of Christmas – but they didn’t because of these donated gifts. This has enabled them to make sensible financial choices which won’t negatively impact them for the rest of the year.”
|“I wish that we could capture the joy and almost the relief which is felt by parents when we let them know their children will be getting a gift. The children who collect their own presents are gleeful! Many of those children may not otherwise get a present to unwrap on Christmas morning. It’s all a little bit of Christmas magic. Thank you.”|