The Christmas Day Dinner is an annual event for care leavers aged 18-25 to celebrate their resilience and create positive memories. We would love your help. For the fourth year running, members of the community will get together to create a unique 2020-style Christmas Day Experience. Our aim is very simple: that no young adult care leaver should feel alone on the big day.
Last year, we were thrilled to be voted Richmond’s Community Heroes. Not all heroes wear capes; some wear Santa hats it seems! Our steering committee of volunteers from all walks of life, splits its responsibilities across 7 areas, from food to presents via venue and entertainment, to gently direct the goodwill, generosity and drive of local people who find us through friends, family, facebook, school, work, church and more. Everyone is very welcome. There’s always something to do.
You can help us in so many ways:
Could you make a donation to the event or perhaps volunteer to join one of the committees we are setting up? If you can, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and get in touch, although all our volunteer opportunities are now filled for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The Richmond Christmas Day Dinner was set up by Sian Thomas, a nurse by background, after a chance meeting with a young homeless man. “On Christmas Eve 2016, I met a young man sitting on the ground outside the local Burger King. We had a chat, went for a burger together and had a nice couple of hours,” says Sian, who lives in Twickenham.
“What was so sad was I could have told you his history before he spoke – 22-years-old, parents alcoholics, had been in care with placements broken down, foster home to foster home, children’s home to children’s home. Now totally alone, he was spending Christmas Eve and Day alone. Society had totally failed him. Who knows where people like this young man would spend Christmas Day? It inspired me and a number of other people to do something about it.”
Lemn Sissay, a care leaver himself, set up the original Christmas Day Dinner initiative in 2013 and there are now more than 17 UK wide, each one unique. “The thing is,” says Sissay, “I remember saying when I left care, ‘I don’t want to just survive. I want to live.’ And the Christmas Dinner isn’t about surviving; it’s about living.”