Volunteers and staff step up to make Christmas special for Care Leavers in Sutton

Published Thursday, 7th January 2021

The Christmas Day Dinner is an annual project founded by the poet Lemn Sissay MBE for communities to provide an amazing Christmas Day for care leavers.

Sutton Council worked alongside Jigsaw4U and Volunteer Centre Sutton to create the third annual Christmas Day Dinner that has been hosted in Sutton.

Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, the Sutton Christmas Day Dinner team stepped up again in December to deliver three-course meals to 70 young care leavers. A team of 51 volunteers made deliveries to young people in supported accommodation and those living alone, some of whom have children of their own. 

The Christmas Day Dinner team also raised £4,145 in donations from the local community. As well as a meal and Christmas gifts, food hampers were also delivered to each young person with a mixture of treats and essential items to see them through until the new year.

The team organised online entertainment featuring games and quizzes. The day was brought to life by appearances from celebrity guests, including rappers Yungen and M Huncho, and mixed martial artist Nathaniel Wood. Each artist shared a Christmas message with the children and young people.

Speaking about the event, Nathaniel Wood said: “It was my pleasure to be involved in Sutton’s Christmas Day Dinner. I am more than happy to do anything I can to help these guys!” 

Care Leaver Katie, who attended the event, said: “It was the best! Thanks to everyone who volunteered. It was really special to have someone come and bring me dinner and presents when I was home alone. M Huncho and Yungen were definitely highlights and the DJ was amazing. Having the call was really nice too. It meant a lot to me.”

Councillor Marian James, Chair of the People Committee at Sutton Council, said: “I cannot thank our staff and volunteers enough for rising to the challenge of organising the annual Christmas Day Dinner in Sutton. They have done a fantastic job supporting vulnerable people through the pandemic and continued against the odds to deliver some Christmas cheer to our young people during the festive period. It has helped to give young people a sense of belonging and community, and also means that people who would have otherwise been alone on the day had entertainment and company.”