Staff from across Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) have joined forces this Christmas, to provide gifts to more than 400 young care leavers. The initiative is part of a wider campaign ‘to support young people leaving care.’
County Council employees and Hertfordshire companies raised £7635 in aid of the annual Christmas for Care Leavers Appeal. Over the years, staff members have donated individual items for care leavers. In addition, gift boxes are usually created to ensure young people are able to open a present on Christmas Day itself. This year, vouchers have been purchased instead due to COVID-19. Each care leaver will therefore be given the opportunity ‘to treat themselves to a gift of their choice.’
Additionally, some young people leaving care have no family network or plans in place for celebrating Christmas. However, this year 20 volunteers from HCC have organised a number of online events to support these individuals on Christmas Day. This includes a festive quiz, virtual cook-along and a DJ set.
Christmas Day events are open to all care leavers. In turn, 50 young people will receive a hamper, containing cook-along ingredients and ‘some extra treats.’ Ingredients have been donated by Tesco and can be used alongside a ‘video created by Oaklands College.’ Finally, Ocado and Tree Heritage Nursery have also supported the event.
Owen Mapley, Chief Executive of HCC, said:
“In this extraordinary year, it’s been more important than ever to support our young people and show them that they are not alone. I’m hugely grateful to colleagues across the County Council for supporting this care appeal and donating their time for the Christmas Day social. My thanks also goes out to our sponsors Tesco, Ocado, Oaklands College and Tree Heritage Nursery for making a difference to our young people.”