In this blog I am going to make you feel good (possibly) and ask for your help. The Christmas Dinner for care leavers was inspired by The Tope Project in 2012. . In 2013 the first Christmas dinner was held in Manchester. In 2014 Manchester and Hackney. In 2015 Manchester, Hackney and Leeds and in 2016 a Christmas dinner took place for care leavers in Manchester, London, Leeds, Liverpool and Oxford. Here’s a BBC piece that went on Christmas Day 2016.
So far in 2017 Manchester, Islington, Hackney, Richmond, Stockport, Sheffield, Birmingham, Canterbury, Wirral, Liverpool, Leeds, and Hackney have shown interest and most have started their steering group meetings. We’ve inspired an equivalent Christmas Dinner in Scotland which is run independently by The Who Cares Trust. We are lighting up the country like… a Christmas tree. All the teams are using the brand new How To Guide which was made by volunteers from different Christmas Dinners at a weekend away in January. It tells you everything you need to know about what we do and how we do it.
Because of the support from fantastic communities who provide so much of what is needed each Christmas Dinner costs only £5,000 max – and that’s to create a magical day for up to 50 care leavers. In an ideal world The Christmas Dinner teams don’t use it. It is contingency money. The Christmas Dinner has eight elements; venue, chef, food, guests, volunteers, travel, presents and communications.
In 2013 we raised £10,513 There was one Christmas Dinner
In 2014 we raised £14,986 There were two Christmas Dinners
In 2015 we raised £43,487 There were three Christmas dinners
In 2016 we raised £1615 There were five Christmas Dinners.
The only other expense was a weekend in January where members of each Christmas Dinner came together and formulated the brand new how to guide. That cost £3,000. Presently there is £12,000 in the Christmas dinner account; which provides contingency for just over two Christmas Dinners. I predict eight Christmas Dinners this year. So I need to raise £28,000 between now and December 1st to make it happen; and to secure the future of The Christmas Dinners for 2017 and beyond.
I raised £1,000 by performing at The Martin Harris Centre on Friday. I have raised £2,000 throughTHE REPORT at The Royal Court and I will be raising £3,000 by taking part in a celebrity show on TV – can’t say what it is yet. Including the £12,000 that’s a total of £18,000. We need £22,000 by December 1st. I’m doing everything I can. Can you help? This is a request for your help on this unique project. Maybe you’d do a sponsored run, a sponsored bake off…. Between now and December 1st 2017 we have 57 days.
I am in no doubt that we will do it because I believe in this project. And my belief has taken it this far. I know you can help, my friends. I look forward to hearing from you with how. In the next few days I will be posting details of The Lemn Sissay Foundation. It is a registered charity set up to fund the christmas dinners. For now we have The Christmas Dinner Account with The Cooperative Bank which is held by Simon Ruding of the charity TIPP. They are based at The University of Manchester. Simon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a spare £20,000, £5,000,£1,000, £10 please help us. You can help by sharing this blog. Before I go I should thank the family who came to my performance in Leigh and gave me a cheque for One Hundred Pouds to The Christmas Dinner. Every penny counts. I will post our progress each week. And thanks. For Donations The Christmas Dinner bank details are
Account Name: The Christmas Dinner Account
Account bank The Cooperative Bank
Sort Code 089299
Account number 65741757