Returning for their fourth crowdfunding campaign, The Christmas Dinner is an initiative set up by author and broadcaster Lemn Sissay, to provide a memorable Christmas experience to care leavers throughout the UK.
The Christmas Dinner is strictly not a charity, nor a Social Enterprise. It has no logo, and has no aspirations to become any kind of organisation. With a simple and pure message of inclusion, this initiative, or rather endeavour, encourages the community to take responsibility for care leavers (persons over the age of 18, who have been looked after away from home by a local authority) on Christmas Day – spreading festive cheer and magic to all.
Founded by Lemn Sissay, the yearly run initiative is organised entirely by a steering group of volunteers at each location, which has so far included Manchester, London, Leeds, Liverpool and Oxford. The teams in each area come together to create the day, for which they persuade local businesses and organisations to donate the highest quality food, gifts and services. They also organise taxis for the guests, who are driven to whichever swanky venue the year’s event is being held at. The emphasis on providing a top-class experience is integral to The Christmas Dinner ethos, which believes that the day shouldn’t simply be about surviving, but instead be about truly living.
Whilst the initial concept of The Christmas Dinner is that no event should require any finance, the initiative is aware that this is an impossible feat and thus provides £5,000 of contingency money for any Christmas Dinner that take places, in line with the correct ethos.
The crucial idea behind The Christmas Dinner is one of inclusivity, as it strives to encourage the local community to take care of the care leaver – whether that is by donating directly to the Crowdfunder project, or by offering time, food or services. Through encouraging people to work with one another, the initiative hopes to address loneliness and isolation, by showing young care leavers that they are truly valued and noticed by the community. The endeavour is to make a real and long lasting impact.
The day is as memorable as it is life-changing for all who are involved. And beyond this, it’s also a whole lot of fun and really shows what the Christmas spirit is all about.
The Christmas Dinner 2017 – Lemn Sissay Foundation
The Christmas Dinner 2015
The Hackney Christmas Dinner 2014
The Christmas Dinner 2013