A total of 471 Christmas hampers have been delivered to Plymouth families who have worked closely with the Council’s Inclusion, Attendance and Welfare Service
The Families that are selected are usually on low incomes and have been working with their child’s school and other agencies to improve their child’s school attendance.
The hampers themselves are enormous and include everything a family needs for a wonderful Christmas day lunch, turkey, sprouts, chocolates, Christmas crackers, pigs in blankets, you name it – it’s in there!
Mum of three Jade couldn’t believe it when she got the call from Education Welfare officers last week. She said: “This is wonderful news, our family has had a terrible year financially, mentally and emotionally. I am very grateful and can now buy some extra gifts for the children.”
The scheme was launched in Plymouth five years after a joint idea between Sean Lynch, the owner of The Terrace Café on the Hoe and Suzanne Hunter one of the City Council’s Education Welfare officers.
The idea was given to Sean by a friend, who’s family had received a hamper when he was a young boy, as they were living in poverty at the time and it made their Christmas day. The family never knew where the hamper came from, but the young boy now a man has never forgotten how special that Christmas day was.
Sean Lynch owner of the Terrace said: “Living is giving, it’s about a lot of people doing a little bit, so families in unfortunate situations can have a nice Christmas. A Christmas card is in the hamper and reads this comes from someone who cares and maybe one day we hope you can do the same.”
Suzanne Hunter one of the Council’s Education Welfare Officers said: “It is very humbling listening to the voices of parents and carers who have been nominated for a Christmas Hamper.”
When the scheme started there were only a few hampers, but each year the number of hampers donated by local businesses has increased and last Christmas more than 110 hampers were delivered to nominated families across the city.
Councillor Terri Beer, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “Our Inclusion Attendance and Welfare Service does a great deal more than just prosecute parents for persistent non-attendance at school, we recognise those parents who work really hard to support their children to access the opportunities available to them at school”
“These hampers are a fantastic way to celebrate some of those hard working families who have very little at Christmas but who do everything they can to enable their children to enjoy and achieve. I’d like to personally thank all the local businesses who donate gifts and give up their time to help make this happen and wish everyone a very merry Christmas.”
Some of the local businesses involved this year are; The Terrace and some of its Customers, The Rotary, Free Masons, Michael Spiers fine jewellers.