Who we are
We are a growing team of volunteers from the UK with one aim, to provide a brilliant Christmas Day for young careleavers, young people aged 18-25 who have recently left the care system. These young people would otherwise be alone.
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.
What we are trying to do
This year 2017 Volunteer teams have assembled and are working hard finding venues, gifts and scrumptious food to make an unforgettable Christmas Day experience that will help create great memories for the guests. Manchester, Islington, Hackney, Richmond, Stockport, Sheffield, Birmingham, Canterbury, Wirral, Liverpool, Leeds, and Hackney . We are lighting up the country like… a Christmas tree.
In 2017 we need to raise £25000 as there will be nine Christmas Day dinners across the UK.
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.
Full details can be found at lemnsissay.com
Each Dinner in each community has a Facebook page and twitter proflle, these can be found at the bottom of this page. Please chip in and if you have other ways that you can support or work with young careleavers and wish to refer a young person then get in touch through the Facebook pages.
Why is this so important?
What is a care leaver?
anyone who has been in the care of a local authority for at least 13 weeks, whether away from home or in the home, will be considered to have a background in care, and therefore be eligible for support.
A Care leaver is defined as a person aged 25 or under, who has been looked after away from home by a local authority for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14; and who was looked after away from home by the local authority at school-leaving age or after that date.
Many care leavers are sat in flats, B&B’s, hostels, sofa surfing and indeed living on the streets on their own at Christmas. It can be a day to dread and then forget. Since 2013 this project led by Lemn Sissay a careleaver who has gone on to become Chancellor of Tbe University of Manchester and this is crowdfunded by myself also a care leaver. I do this because I have overcome that loneliness and isolation always magnified on Christmas Day and simply wish to inspire a positive way forward for the community to support young people experiencing those tough first few years when you no longer receive support from the system.
It has been an incredible few years since we first started. Please support us, use our hashtag #TCD17 tweet our link share our link on Facebook . Chip in! Join or crowd in whatever way you can. This does make a difference to young people, it raises their confidence to be noticed and valued by our supporters.
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.
In 2017 we hope to raise at least £25000 and there will be nine christmas dinners across the UK.
We welcome your generosity and solidarity with young care leavers, your support will go a long way towards ending loneliness and isolation and show young careleavers that they are valued and noticed by the community.
This year there will be Nine Christmas Dinners. The following are the email and facebook pages of all of them. They also have twitter pages.
Leeds Christmas dinner
Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/TheChristmasDinnerLeeds/
Canterbury Christmas Dinner
Wirral Christmas Dinner
Richmond Christmas Dinner
Manchester Christmas Dinner
Sheffield Christmas Dinner
Sheffield email TCDSheffield@gmail.com
Birmingham Christmas Dinner
Hackney Christmas Dinner
On a personal level Lemn will have raised around £10,000 this year. He has done this through performing his work and will be appearing on Mastermind. Specialist subject BOB Marley. He is a top man and inspires many to support care leavers in our communities across the UK.