Annual care leavers Christmas dinner needs donations for socially-distanced celebration

Last years Hackney Christmas Dinner for care leavers. Picture: Andrew Leo Photography

Last years Hackney Christmas Dinner for care leavers. Picture: Andrew Leo Photography - Credit: Andrew Leo Photography

A Hackney project wants to make an annual care leavers Christmas dinner extra special by gifting away donated laptops and tablets.

This year each care leaver will be getting an individual gift and food package. Picture: Andrew Leo

This year each care leaver will be getting an individual gift and food package. Picture: Andrew Leo Photography - Credit: Andrew Leo Photography

For the last five years, Hackney Christmas Dinner has brought together 50 young care leavers for a Christmas day celebration, providing them with presents, food and company on the holiday.

This year however, the project’s volunteers have had to think of a more socially-distanced way of celebrating the day due to the coroanvirus crisis. They wish to provide care leavers with laptops or tablets and data packages so they can stay connected over the festive period.

READ MORE: Help give young Hackney Care leavers a great Christmas day this year

“Christmas was the most difficult time of the year, because it was a reminder of everything I’d never had,” said poet and Hackney resident Lemn Sissay MBE, who set up the project having grown up in the care system.

Last year, care leavers had dinner together, took part in activities and, each received a Madlug bac

Last year, care leavers had dinner together, took part in activities and, each received a Madlug backpack and other girfts. Picture: Andrew Leo Photography - Credit: Andrew Leo Photography

“The Christmas Dinner is about our community coming together to help a young person have a wonderful day and a memory that they can look back at the next year and know that it was a good memory. We offer warmth, laughter and joy,” added Lemn.


You may also want to watch:


The event is organised by a dedicated team of volunteers who begin planning in early autumn.

This year organisers have been met with the added challenge of bringing people together at a distance, deciding to deliver each care leaver with an individual gift and food package to be enjoyed along with activities and personal connections online.

READ MORE: Lemn Sissay’s Hackney Christmas Dinner for care leavers: ‘It’s about respect’

Most Read

Naomi DePeza, who is responsible for the Hackney Christmas Dinner theme and design, told the Gazette: “The important switch this year has to be moving the focus away from the physical decorations and instead creating an equally beautiful ‘event’ in a box – to be delivered to every care leaver.

“The vision is of each person opening up their box on Christmas Day and being thrilled by the personal touch of exquisitely chosen gifts wrapped beautifully for them to enjoy.”

Volunteers are asking that businesses donate new laptops,tablets and wifi dongles or for residents to support their fundraiser.

The initiative is also in need of drivers, fundraisers, gift experts and entertainers. To help out contact hackneyxmasvolunteers@gmail.com

The dinner usually has about 50 care leavers come together to share a big Christmas meal, then play

The dinner usually has about 50 care leavers come together to share a big Christmas meal, then play games and take part in activities like hair and nail salons. Picture: Andrew Leo Photography - Credit: Andrew Leo Photography

To donate click here .

Follow Hackney Christmas Dinner @HackneyChristmasDinner on Facebook and @xmas_dinner on twitter.

The Hackney Christmas Dinner initiative was set up by poet and Hackney resident who grew up in the U

The Hackney Christmas Dinner initiative was set up by poet and Hackney resident who grew up in the UK care system. Picture: Andrew Leo Photography - Credit: Andrew Leo Photography

The aim is to ensure young people leaving care have an unforgettable Christmas and do not feel alone

The aim is to ensure young people leaving care have an unforgettable Christmas and do not feel alone during the holidays. Picture: Andrew Leo Photography - Credit: Andrew Leo Photography

This year organisers will be hosting activities for Chrismas day online and so are relying on donati

This year organisers will be hosting activities for Chrismas day online and so are relying on donations to help them gift care leavers with laptops, tablets and wifi dongles. Picture: Andrew Leo Photography - Credit: Andrew Leo Photography

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus