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Lemn's Manchester Christmas Dinner for care leavers needs your support!

22 Nov 2017

Volunteers in Manchester, led by our Chancellor Lemn Sissay, are fundraising to provide a Christmas Dinner for 50 local care leavers

Lemn's Christmas Dinner

For many care leavers in the UK, Christmas can be a difficult time, a day spent alone in a bedsit or hostel, feeling isolated and with nowhere else to go.

Care leavers are young people aged 18-25 who have left foster or residential care. Forced to live independently much earlier than most young people, their resources can be limited and they are often very vulnerable young adults. 

Led by poet and Chancellor Lemn Sissay, himself a care leaver, groups of volunteers all over the UK are putting on a warm and welcoming Christmas Day for over 400 care leavers. 

2017 will be Manchester’s fifth year of hosting the Christmas Dinner, and a special celebratory day for 50 young people is planned. Guests will have an amazing meal, receive gifts and experience a fun, supportive day surrounded by positivity and friendly faces. 

Lemn says: "Many care leavers are sat in flats, B&Bs and hostels, away from family, or sofa-surfing, and some are indeed living on the streets on their own at Christmas. Christmas is a reminder of everything they never had… I know because I’ve shared their experiences… But since 2013, thanks to passionate groups of volunteers supported by generous donations, we’ve been able to put on scrumptious Christmas meals and create a magical day to remember… The Christmas Dinners will be a life-changing and life-saving experience."

To enable the Christmas Dinners to go ahead, Lemn and the team rely on generous donations, and have launched a Crowdfunder appeal to help them raise £25,000 by 1 December.  People can help by donating, as well as sharing the link on social networks to spread the word.

The Manchester Christmas Dinner has an Amazon wish list, where people can buy a gift for a care leaver (prices start at just £2), and they are recruiting hosts to help on Christmas Day and Care Leaver Guests to attend. You can buy a gift from the list which will be delivered to our Christmas preparation HQ ready for Christmas Day. 

To find out more, visit Twitter or Facebook and further information can be found on Lemn's blog.  

BBC Breakfast also featured the Christmas Dinners in this video with Lemn from Christmas Day 2016.

Louise Wallwein, herself a care leaver who supports the Manchester Christmas Dinner, says: "Care Leavers that I know and mentor through my career as a poet activist have benefited greatly and tell me that it seriously matters that we, the community, see them and actively show our solidarity. It’s more than just one day; the benefit spreads throughout the rest of the year."