Christmas gifting charity ‘blown away’ by student support

A charity which aims to bring Christmas cheer to the town’s lonely or forgotten residents says it has been ‘blown away’ by the support from Telford College students.

Foundation students at the Haybridge campus have been busy collecting, sorting and gift wrapping items donated for the Christmas Smile Project, a community-run initiative providing gifts to Telford’s most vulnerable children and adults.

It focuses its efforts on those who may be in difficulty, alone or without any presents. Last year, 5,000 gifts were donated to 1,000 adults and children, who otherwise would have gone without on Christmas Day.

Foundation student Dylan, part of the work skills group at the college, said: “We’ve been collecting gifts from the donation point and sorting them into categories for adults and children of different ages. The aim is to make everyone’s Christmas perfect.”

Telford College foundation students at the college’s pop-up shop for Christmas Smile, which is open until 5pm on December 6
Telford College foundation students at the college’s pop-up shop for Christmas Smile, which is open until 5pm on December 6

Calum, also a foundation work skills student, added: “The project is about supporting families and children who can’t afford presents.”

Rachel Preece, speaking on behalf of the Christmas Smile Project, said: “I’m blown away. The effort, process, research and enthusiasm the students have put in has been overwhelming. They have really taken in pride in supporting the project.

“We aim to ensure every child in the area receives a selection box or sweets, a book, a craft item and a ‘wow’ present. There are a lot of vulnerable people in this area, and the students’ efforts all contribute to bridging that gap – it’s brilliant.”

Kristy Stuart, a foundation tutor at Telford College who has been supervising the project, said: “I volunteered to wrap gifts at Christmas Smile last year, and was so inspired by the project and

Christmas Smile | Telford College
Christmas Smile | Telford College

the work of the volunteers I felt we should bring it into college.

“Every member of the work skills group has contributed – from the careful research they’ve put in, to gift-wrapping and preparing unique edible gifts for the vulnerable members of our community. The enthusiasm of the group has been tremendous.”

A donation point has been set up at the college’s pop-up shop, an initiative that allows foundation students to develop their employability skills, to encourage further donation.

The charity still needs donations of unwrapped gifts suitable for boys aged 6-8, teenage boys, and girls aged 8-12, by 5pm on December 6.

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