Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland, Community engagement

Bringing Christmas to communities

This year has been challenging for so many of us. It has been another year of restrictions, disruptions and uncertainties at school, at work, and in our social lives too.

Despite these challenges, you don’t have to look too hard to find people and organisations who just go above and beyond to support the people in their local neighbourhoods – those people who make life that little bit better for those who are finding it tough.

The festive period can be even more challenging for families – particularly while we navigate our way through this Coronavirus pandemic.

Here, we recognise some of the amazing efforts taking place across our children’s neighbourhoods that ensure those in need don’t go without support this Christmas.

Bringing Christmas cheer to Bridgeton & Dalmarnock

With a week to go until Christmas, our Local Coordinator for Bridgeton and Dalmarnock, David, had received a number of urgent calls from families in crisis with no Christmas presents for their children.

One message to Lesley at Bridgeton Community Learning Campus (BCLC) later, and a monumental community effort was underway.

In the space of just two days, BCLC and Community Toy Bank and Beyond had toy donations from across the Bridgeton and Dalmarnock communities, ensuring ten children were provided with gifts from Santa.

Christmas gifts donated by the community in Bridgeton and Dalmarnock
It was amazing to see the community in B&D come together in such a short space of time.

Having dropped off all the presents to families, David also helped support Possibilities for Each and Every Kid (PEEK) with the delivery of jackets, wellies, toys and clothes from their ‘Winter Warmer Appeal’. These went to nurseries and primary schools across the area.

As well as this, ten tickets for Edinburgh Zoo were gifted to families, and six tickets for the Irn Bru Carnival were also donated to a local children’s residential home.

What a fantastic community response!!

Lanark’s Local Heroes

Working in conjunction with Healthy Valleys, Iain Mulholland, our Local Coordinator in Lanark, helped to deliver Christmas presents to those most in need during the festive period – with over 100 children receiving gifts.

Healthy Valleys are a local charitable organisation who work tirelessly throughout the year within the Clydesdale area – helping families, children and individuals live the best lives possible. Every year, working in partnership with several agencies, they do their best to ensure that children and families who are struggling receive presents and support.

This can be a difficult time of year for some of our families and a very busy time for our staff, we have such lovely and kind volunteers who deliver these gifts to help HV with this massive task, for which we are very thankful. This would not be possible without all the hard work, donations of gifts and offers of storage from local communities.”

Adrienne Grehan, Healthy Valleys

Healthy Valleys also have a close working relationship with Kits For Kids Clydesdale, a small local organisation run by Donna Black, a local resident from Carluke. Donna spends the majority of her spare time collecting presents and gifts which she then shares with Healthy Valleys and other local organisations. This makes such a significant difference to the lives of many.

Donna often finds that her house becomes completely full of these gifts, so this year the team have been supported by Jane Masters from New Lanark Heritage Trust, allowing Donna to store the presents within a spare building at the New Lanark Heritage site.

Healthy Valleys are also supported by Baby Bank Scotland and Womankind to make up and give out gifts and provision to infants and woman who would benefit from support, having supported 40 families and individuals through this initiative.

We are proud to be able to support the great work that Healthy Valleys and their partners do throughout the Clydesdale Area, hopefully by working together we can ensure that everybody has something to look forward to on Christmas day.”

Iain Mulholland, Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Across in Drumchapel, Iain Corbett was also busy supporting PEEK with delivering jackets, wellies and goodies to schools and youth groups across the community.

There was a massive effort from pupils at Drumchapel High, who also joined Iain to support delivering parcels around the community in the run up to the Christmas break!

A car full of Christmas presents donated by community members in Drumchapel.
PEEK were instrumental in coordinating provision for children and families over Christmas.

As well as this, the team at FARE Scotland donated shopping vouchers for 50 families, which will make a huge impact in the run up to Christmas.

These are just a few examples of some of the unbelievably kind efforts taking place across our communities – we know there are many, many more out there too.

Our thanks go out to all the teams working incredibly hard to ensure provision is supplied for those who may be without during the festive period. We’ve been blown away by the incredible initiatives taking place across the country.

‘Tis the season to spread joy – and communities continue to play a vital role in ensuring it happens.

Happy holidays!

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