The FJC are an organisation challenging domestic abuse, offering support, advice and where necessary refuge or emergency accommodation for victims of domestic abuse. Many adults are taken to the FJC by the police after a domestic incident and will literally only have the clothes that they and their children are standing in. We have donated towards purchasing essential toiletries, baby items and supermarket vouchers. The toiletries and products collected are then given to the women to take these to the refuge with them. For some, the toiletries and gifts collected will be the only presents these women (and their children) will have this Christmas.
Toiletries and baby products have been collected throughut December 2019 and are then put together into individual parcels.
Christmas Day 2019 will once again see more than 50 local young people who just left the care system care homes enjoy a Christmas like no other. For the third year running, members of the community will get together to put on a traditional, family-feel Christmas Day. The aim of the day is very simple: that no young adult care leaver should spend the 25th December alone.
Everyone is very welcome. There’s always something to do.
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 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.”
The team’s vision is to ensure this is not just a normal Christmas Day. With no public transport, guests are picked up by taxi, driven to a top-notch venue, served the best food from a great chef, and handed a goody bag with amazing gifts.