Secret Santa Call Out Brings Christmas Cheer To Local Families
Revive Healthy Living Centre in Chaddesden has launched its ninth annual Secret Santa campaign to match generous benefactors with some of the most under-privileged and vulnerable children in the city.
Last year more than 247 Secret Santa parcels were delivered to local children living in poverty, facing a terminal or life limiting illness, who have lost a parent or sibling who have experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse or are residing in care.
This year, Revive, which is based in Roe Farm Lane, is broadening its geographical reach in the city from the current Derwent and Chaddesden wards to also include Oakwood and Spondon and is planning to support a record 300 children.
Supporters are asked to register their interest and then buy a specific gift requested by the individual child or young person. Alternatively, they can make a donation to go towards a gift.
These are then delivered to the family along with other support they such as food or help with electricity and gas bills.
To raise additional funds that will support more local families, the Revive Centre has also designed and produced special Christmas baubles and stars which are on sale from Revive for either £3 or £5.
Revive Centre manager Jo Andrew explained: “Secret Santa has been really well supported by local businesses, organisations and individuals for the past nine years.
“This year we hope that even more people will come on board to ensure we can help more children and young people who would not otherwise experience the joy of Christmas due to circumstances beyond their control.
“Unfortunately, Christmas 2021 will bring even more issues for many families with the financial, health and emotional impact of Covid-19 still being felt.
“We work hard to identify the children most at need in our local communities and ask them what they want so that we can match them with what our army of Secret Santas are able to provide.
“First time recipients are always the priority as well as families of parents who have proved that they are doing all they can to change their circumstances such as attending our Job Club sessions at the Revive Centre.
“From previous experience, this is not just about the latest toys. We are often asked for basic necessities such as a new winter coat and, thanks to funding from other sources, we will be ensuring that all 300 of our children and young people will also receive just that.
“Others often ask for a computer to help their school or college work, football boots so they can keep fit or a bike so that they can do a paper round to earn some money.
“Whatever the request, it is good to know that children and young people are getting a gift that will not only put a smile on their faces but will make a positive difference to their lives at what should be a magical time of year for everyone.”
The Revive Centre always ask families for a statement about why they need help from the Secret Santa campaign.
Feedback ahead of Christmas last year included the grandmother who is the main carer for her five young children. She said: “I can’t believe that someone that doesn’t know us, would do something so kind. The bikes are amazing, the food will definitely help and the Christmas Eve boxes are the icing on the cake. I will never forget this act of kindness for as long as I live.”
An 18-year-old man who is looking after his five brothers and sisters since losing their mum wrote: “Two of the kids have been diagnosed with disabilities and that’s been hard and has affected my ability to work. Secret Santa has therefore been a lifeline. You have been able to give the kids a Christmas that I simply can’t do. I am so grateful for everything you have done. Your support is really amazing and a lifeline to families in our position.”
A mother who has escaped an abusive relationship and moved to Derby with her five children continued: “We haven’t celebrated Christmas properly for many years. This year is going to be different, I’ve been given a Christmas Tree and this year, we have presents to put underneath it thanks to the Santas. I am overwhelmed by the generosity and close to tears that people would do this for us.”
A young mother of three said: “Due to COVID, my partner lost his job and we have just had a new baby. For the first time we have found ourselves on benefits. Universal Credit is so harsh, we have been without money for six weeks and have no prospect of any income until January. It’s impossible to live on fresh air, especially with a new baby and when it’s cold. I didn’t want to ask for help but, when your children believe in Santa, how do you explain that you can’t afford it? Thanks to your service, they will now have presents to open on Christmas Day, I am so grateful.”
A 16-year-old girl wrote: “I would like to say thank you to the Secret Santa who provided me with a laptop this Christmas. Thank you for helping me pursue my dreams and hopefully one day get into uni. Thanks to the secret Santa’s I no longer have to worry about how I’m going to pass my course. When I have my dream job (thanks to your help) I will ensure to return the favour and help other children in need at the hard times."
To find out more about being a Secret Santa this year, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01332 288700.