Wishes come true for over 230 Wigan young people and families as Wigan Youth Zone provided the magical Christmas that they deserve.
On Thursday, 22nd of December, Wigan Youth Zone held their Annual Family Christmas Meal Event, in person after two years due to Pandemic Restrictions.
Based on Parsons Walk opposite Wigan and Leigh College – Wigan Youth Zone operates in an area where one in four young people are living in long-term deprivation. Youth Workers work to raise young people’s aspirations, become positive role models for their members, and ultimately help to inspire a generation with the belief that all young people should be able to access the same opportunities, regardless of what challenges they face.
Now in its 9th year, the appeal helps vulnerable families across the Wigan borough with gifts, Christmas dinner, food hampers, and Santa’s Grotto along with entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. The aim of the event is to place a smile on the face of every family that attends, providing them with a variety of gifts and hampers for the festive period.
The initiative is only possible through the generous contributions of the Wigan and Leigh community. Along with providing a successful Family Christmas Meal, Wigan Youth Zone also raised over £22,000 through donations to support all of the charity’s initiatives over the festive period.
Kate Rigby, Volunteer and Training Coordinator, who organises the Annual Appeal said, “It has been like Santa’s workshop in here today. Together with the local community, we have truly made a difference in their Christmas. On a day to day basis, we change the lives of young people who, through no fault of their own, have ended up in a position that makes them desperately in need.”
“If you have put a Christmas item in our trollies, or if you have donated towards our Christmas hampers, thank you. When you’re with your loved ones on Christmas Day, please know that there are over 70 families in Wigan and Leigh opening Christmas presents, thanks to your kindness.
Anthony Ashworth-Steen, CEO of Wigan Youth Zone said,
“On behalf of the Wigan Youth Zone Team, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your generosity; with your help, we were able to make wishes come true for over 230 local young people and their families. We know that Christmas isn’t always magical for everyone and it was an absolute pleasure to be able to provide something special for these families this year. Thank you for supporting our charity and the work we do.”
Whilst meeting Santa, one young person said: “Santa, can I ask you a question? Can you get me an Air Fryer, so I can give it to my Mum, please? She’s always wanted one.”
One family said: “You have no idea how much this means to us. We have been struggling these last few months; thank you for today it has truly been fantastic; we will never forget this Christmas. Wigan is so lucky to have such a wonderful place like the Wigan Youth Zone.”
The gift of giving continued as Wigan Youth Zone hosted a month of festive-filled fun with Christmas-themed sessions and a holiday club for hundreds of young people whilst providing a free hot meal to anyone who walks through their doors.