Leeds volunteers throw Christmas Day dinner for care leavers without families

Volunteers in Leeds are coming together to make sure care leavers don't spend Christmas Day alone.

Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 3:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 3:28 pm
Staff and volunteers who are putting on a Christmas dinner for care leavers, wrapping donated presents ready for the day.

The Christmas Dinner is a charity event for young people aged 18-25 who have left the care system and have no family.Volunteers will be throwing a Christmas party complete with presents, entertainment and dinner with all the trimmings.The aim is to make sure young adults who have spent their lives in care have a place to go on Christmas.Volunteer Liz Fossu, 55, is a Leeds barrister who specialises in family law and has seen first hand the effect of the care system on care leavers.

She said that although there is care plan in place to support young people as they leave care, people need to be realistic and realise, that this will never match what a child who has stayed with their family experiences.

Mrs Fossu, from Doncaster, said: “When you think of Christmas it is about family, having fun, eating great food and making memories together.

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Sharon Williams and Theresa Stead who are putting on a Christmas dinner for care leavers, wrapping donated presents ready for the day.

“A lot of people were put in care because they were at harm or at risk of harm, so it’s quite common for them to have no family ties when they leave care.”“Many care leavers will face Christmas alone, with no gifts or food. We want to create those memories for them and make them feel special.”Volunteers spent Sunday, December 16 wrapping the hundreds of donated presents, which including 50 special handmade quilts.

The idea behind the quilts was to symbolise a ‘warm hug’ and give the guests the physical intimacy and affection they may not have had when they were in care.

Volunteers will return on Christmas Eve to decorate the venue and where they will their favourite polar bear decorations.

On the day, Yorkshire’s Rahila Hussain, winner of ITV’s food glorious food, will be cooking the meal, as she has since the event began four years ago.

Volunteers Denise and John Pye who are putting on a Christmas dinner for care leavers, wrapping donated presents ready for the day.

The Christmas Dinner will take place in a secret venue on Tuesday, December 25 and will host 50 care leavers.