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Wrapping up Christmas for the Wood Street Mission - now with pictures

10 Dec 2012

Although we are living in difficult financial times, University staff have been more generous than ever in their donations to this year’s Wood Street Mission Christmas Project.

The Wood Street Mission has been a part of the University’s Christmas tradition since 1974, when UMIST’s Joint Unions Committee adopted it as their official charity.

Founded in 1869 to alleviate the effects of poverty on local children and their families by offering practical help, Wood Street is still needed as much today and remains committed to helping local people in poverty.

The University is one of Wood Street’s major supporters and, this year, our staff have dug deep and given enough toys, gifts and food to fill a University van to capacity. Among the brand new items donated were nearly 300 books, three bin liners full of toys, and two scooters.

On the afternoon of Friday, 30 November, Pete Thomason and Gary Sullivan from the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences loaded up the van with gifts that had been accumulating since the appeal opened in mid-September and delivered their load safely to the Mission’s premises on Deansgate (just opposite the John Rylands Library).

Overseeing the loading and delivery were Muriel Shingler and Rose Underwood, University champions of the Wood Street Mission, who organise all collections on behalf of the charity and manage the Wood Street Mission Lottery which raises money for Wood Street throughout the year.

Treasurer Rose, who works in the Directorate of Finance, said: “We are amazed by how much colleagues have given this year, despite the fact that many of them are feeling the economic pinch.”

Muriel, who retired as EPS Graduate School Administrator several years ago, sits on the Board of Trustees of Wood Street Mission. She explained what would happen to the donations when they arrived at Wood Street:

“Boxes and bags go down a chute to the basement, where they are opened by a team of volunteers: tinned and packaged food is sorted into 14 different categories, and children’s toys and books are sorted by age.

“Each family receives a food parcel containing one item from each food category and toys, books or other gifts to match the number and ages of their children.

“A lot of thought goes into giving each family what it really needs to get through Christmas. But what makes it all possible is the overwhelming generosity of the people who have responded to this year’s appeal.”

Supporting Wood Street Mission all year round

Many of our staff contribute to Wood Street all year round through the Lottery, which has been running since 1974. Find out more at:

It costs the Wood Street Mission £25 to support a child for a year. The Christmas Project provides gifts and food during the festive season, but Wood Street Mission supports local families all year through its four other projects:

  • Easter Project, which distributes Easter eggs and food hampers to local families;
  • Clothing Project, which offers help with basic items of clothing, plus bedding, toys, books and baby equipment, from January to mid-November;
  • School Uniform Project, which provides new school uniform each August for the new school year;
  • Children’s Book Clubs, where children can choose and take home books in the school holidays.

For more information about Wood Street Mission and how you can help, visit: