Box Magic

by Seagulls Paint in Leeds, England, United Kingdom

Total raised £2,820

raised so far



To make Christmas boxes for families living in poverty across Leeds. The boxes will be filled with craft and baking activities to bring fun.

by Seagulls Paint in Leeds, England, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

If we are lucky enough to reach our target then we will make more boxes to help more families in need across Leeds.

Since Covid came into our life's we have seen a rise in poverty and it is estimated that extreme poverty will double by Christmas. Imagine if this was you and you couldn't provide any joy for your family at Christmas.

We want to make Christmas boxes for families living in poverty across Leeds. The boxes will be filled with craft and baking activities, and some small treats, to create an element of festive fun for families struggling to put food on the table.


Seagulls is a creative social enterprise based in Leeds. The Founders, Cat and Kate manage the enterprise and it's a thriving hub for paint, people and the arts.


At the start of lockdown, we were acutely aware that there were many families and individuals who were very isolated and unable to access resources to relieve the monotony that the enforced isolation brought. In response to this, we wanted to use our collective expertise and networks to help alleviate the boredom and bring a welcomed distraction to people lacking any comforts or stimulus. Cat's husband suggested putting together activity boxes for people, and the idea was born!

We joined forces with 2 other social enterprises (Playful Anywhere and Fall into Place) who were already working on creative boxes (no point reinventing the wheel) and in May Mini Playbox was born. Together we delivered 250 mini play boxes to both families and older people living in the Armley Ward. 


Some feedback that crystalises the importance of our project:

A 72 year old lady called us to say “Thank you” for the activity box for her 81 year old husband who has dementia. She openly informed us she was very sceptical about the box when it arrived. She said she never thought her husband would be interested in the box as she had been struggling to keep him mentally stimulated. 

Her husband is very restless and paces around the house.  He attempts to leave the house several times a day as he doesn’t understand or remember he as to stay at home due to the lockdown. This situation is having a significant impact on her mental and physical health, and her husbands’ mental wellbeing.  The lady informed us today she actually had time to watch a programme with no distraction from her husband as he spent over 4 hours in the kitchen playing with the contents of the box. 

The box has brought curiosity and interest to her husband, she told us. Several times through the day he passed his time just emptying the box and then putting everything back together. She also watched him scribble with the crayons, something he has not done since their youngest grandchild (who’s now 24) used to come over at the weekend. 


The project was so successful we did it again in the summer holidays. This time the content of the boxes was focused around healthy eating and growing food. We distributed 310 boxes to families engaged with local support services.

The project has been entirely developed and implemented by volunteer power! Both projects have made a huge difference to people and brought joy into people's homes.


We have been running on a box high and want to continue our success with Christmas boxes. Christmas is already a hard time for families living on the bread line and this has been severely impacted by Covid. Making the boxes is Seagulls way of giving back to the most vulnerable.

Who will benefit from the boxes?

We have partnered with Leeds based charity Zarach and will be donating all of the boxes to the families with whom this charity works.


Zarach is a community based, registered charity committed to helping children and families in Leeds who are living in poverty crisis. It was set up by a Leeds Deputy Head Teacher in light of the poverty she saw at first hand in schools in our great city.

‘Every Head a Bed’ is their commitment to help ensure all children have somewhere safe and comfortable to sleep with good consistent access to healthy and nutritious food in order for them to Eat, Sleep, Learn. 

Zarach believe that well rested and well fed children will be increasingly ready to learn. Through the power of education, they will be able to break the cycle of poverty and improve the breadth of opportunities available to their future selves. 

Our mission is to bring lasting and positive change to those children growing up in the grips of poverty crisis through bed bundle deliveries, tailored support packages, raising awareness, advocating policy change and through galvanising people and resources in the UK.

What will we do with the money raised?

With the money raised we will make boxes that contain Christmas craft activities such as make your own decorations, paper chains and cards, as well as baking equipment, ingredients and recipes to make ginger bread and mince pies. Our aim is to have the boxes assembled and filled, ready for distribution, by early December, in time for Christmas.

Each box costs £15 to fill and we aim to make 150. Every penny donated will go directly into creating the boxes. The project will be run entirely through volunteer power so the more money we raise, the more boxes we make.

We are not offering rewards with this campaign, the warm fuzzy glow that you've supported a family in need is all you will get from donating to this project!

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