Normally at Christmas our staff team work very hard to create a grotto within the centre so local children can visit Santa, but in 2020 this isn't possible due to Covid-19 restrictions so we've had to think of a different way of bringing some Christmas sparkle to local families.

Our team landed on the idea of having a special post box outside the centre so children could post their letters to Santa and get a personalised reply but how would we get their Santa gifts to them? With careful planning we realised that we could take Santa out into the community in a safe, socially distanced way. Each child who sent a letter would be told on their personal reply when Santa would be visiting their street later in December.

Lots of families have given great feedback about the Santa letters and planned visits; the community have told us how much the children have enjoyed writing their letters, taking a special trip to the post box and we have heard some lovely stories about how excited local children have been to receive their replies from Santa.

                        

It has been a real team effort by all of the staff and has taken a huge amount of organisation as over 200 letters were received but next week our team of elves and the man himself will be out and about in Meadow Well and surrounding areas bringing some festive cheer and maybe some gifts to the local children. Capita kindly provided us with lots of Snowman Soup packs to give out to local children. The Singing Hinnies will also be around the estate bringing Christmas cheer through songs and carols, we can't wait to share more about this as it happens.

We've also been taking referrals from local families who need some extra help with Christmas gifts, Winter Warmer Packs and activity kits. It can be particularly hard on those living alone so if you know anyone who needs some help there's still time to get in touch and nominate them for a Christmas Cheer pack. We'll be supported by staff from Capita to deliver these next week too. 

We realise that many people will struggle with food at Christmas so we're working with Ben Appetite to provide Christmas meal packs covering food for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day for over 800 people across North Tyneside. Our centre will be closed to the public from 21st December to enable us to prepare, cook and coordinate the deliveries in partnership with Ben Appetite. Thanks to Capita, local families will receive an extra gift to complement their Christmas dinner.

For more information please contact us on 0191 3410033.