. Dec 13, 2022 . 3 minutes read
Over the last 7 years, the Statuo team has adopted a number of Christmas traditions, including Secret Santa, our annual Christmas quiz, client gifts and Christmas cards.
As we started to plan this year’s festivities and set out our budgets, I stumbled upon a LinkedIn post that stopped me in my tracks.
The post was from the Fundraising Manager from Bolton Lads & Girls club, explaining how, as part of their Operation Sleighbells mission, one little girl had just asked for red apples and a milkybar.
This was a heartbreaking reminder that while many of us will be celebrating and sparing no expenses over the festive period, there are thousands of children out there who will be going without this Christmas.
Bolton Lads & Girls Club is a youth club and registered charity based in Bolton, Greater Manchester. Over 128 years ago, they were one of the first organisations in the North West to recognise the importance of providing young people with a safe haven where they could spend their free time.
The foundations of the charity are based on their universal open access offer, 7 days and nights a week, 51 weeks a year, reaching over 3,000 individual children and young people each year through centre based play and youth work, sport provision, arts and music programmes, dance, drama, multimedia, outreach and detached street based programmes in neighbourhoods and communities.
They also provide tailored packages of support to some of our towns most vulnerable and complex children, young people and families. They provide 1:1 support for children and families from Early Help to child protection, the Young Carers service, programmes for Looked after children, and programmes that tackle employability, homelessness and independent living for those 16 plus.
Each year, the charity runs Operation Sleighbells, a mission which aims to provide Christmas gifts to children that would otherwise go without. This year, they have seen more families coming for help than ever before, as many struggle to afford even the basic necessities during the current cost of living crisis.
The club has a list of over 350 children that could wake up this Christmas without presents, and over 270 families that are struggling to buy food this festive period. To help ensure these families don’t go without, Bolton Lads & Girls Club have welcomed donations, either in the form of food, presents or funds.
After a quick team meeting, we made a plan. We scrapped our usual office Secret Santa, and instead decided to each donate the £20 that we would have spent into a shared fund. We also decided that instead of sending gifts and cards to our clients, Statuo would match the fund raised by the team.
Our Founder, Rick, then topped up our pot to bring the total up to £1,800, meaning we could fulfil the gift requests for 51 children and young adults from Bolton and also send £500 to the BLGC fund to help with food parcels.
Once we had the money in the pot, we then got to work on the wish list! 8 hours, 10 shops - and a lot of selection boxes. Some children had only asked for small things such as chocolate and crisps, which broke our hearts, so we made sure they got a few extra gifts too.
We have loved being able to help out, and only wish that we could have bought gifts for all 350 children on the list. However, we know that the people and businesses of Bolton will make sure every child on that list has something to open on Christmas morning.
If you or anyone you know can donate to Operation Sleighbells - please contact Kelly McFadden at BLGC who will be happy to help!