Thousands of presents have been donated to children in care for Nottingham City Council’s Christmas Stars appeal.
The annual campaign asks council staff and local businesses to buy a gift for an anonymous child, whose age and gender is marked on a special Christmas Star.
Presents are given to children in care as well as vulnerable young people in the city at Christmas. This year for the first time, money was also donated to give food hampers to young people leaving care for the first time.
More than 4,000 gifts have been collected in just three weeks by the annual appeal, which is based at the City Council headquarters Loxley House in Station Street. And around £700 was donated to buy 40 hampers for care leavers, who may be on their own this Christmas.
The completion of the appeal was marked with Christmas carols by children from Greenfields Community School in Nottingham.
Councillor David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Early Intervention and Early Years, said: “The response to our Christmas Stars appeal has been overwhelming. People in Nottingham are really to helping to make a difference to the lives of children and young people in care.
“Each year, the appeal gets bigger and bigger – with people taking the time to choose a gift that will help to bring joy and happiness to a child on Christmas Day.”
The appeal comes at the end of the council’s Looking After Each Other campaign (www.LookingAfterEachOther.co.uk) which is encouraging people to think others and do more to help people in Nottingham.
It also marks a busy month of activities organised by the council for children and young people in care. These include:
- Santa Train – more than 70 children in care and their siblings and foster carers enjoyed a very special festive treat with partners East Midlands Trains on 10 December. The annual “Round Robin” is a train with a difference which takes the deserving guests on a two-hour journey where they can be entertained, play games and of course meet Santa!
- Fostering Christmas Party – takes place every year and invites are sent to all 125 households who foster for the City Council. This year the party took place on 3 December at Trent Vineyard. In total 79 children and 66 adults came along and enjoyed the afternoon. There was karaoke, a children’s entertainer, a bouncy castle and a visit from Santa.
- Adoption Christmas Party – took place on 17 December at The Grange, Radcliffe-on-Trent. Some 70 adopted babies and children and 64 adults attended the party which included a pantomime for all ages, a disc jockey and an entertainer on stilts to greet the children and their parents on arrival.
Cllr Mellen added: “Christmas is a time when we all should think about how important family, love and security are to giving young people the best start in life. We should also recognise the work done by Nottingham City Council staff and the dedication of our amazing foster parents who look after the children in our care.”
Nottingham City Council is always looking for new people to become foster carers for children of all ages – as well as those willing to give a safe and caring home to vulnerable teenagers or to offer a short-term placement to a disabled child.
Many children who come into care have experienced years of neglect, which can impact their physical and emotional development. It can also mean they haven’t experienced the simplest pleasures in life like celebrating their birthday, cooking with other family members or going to the seaside.
Cllr Mellen said: “Foster caring is a challenging yet immensely rewarding experience, and carers often describe it as the best thing they’ve ever done. Our foster carers come from a wide range of backgrounds and family make-up, but what they all have in common is their desire to provide a secure and welcoming home for some of the county’s most vulnerable children.”
To find out more about fostering please contact the City Council’s team on 0115 876 3335 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, answerphone available out of hours) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information is also on our website www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/foster