This November, Madlug (Make A Difference Luggage) is appealing to the public to donate to their Christmas campaign asking for donations of £30 to cover the cost of a quality backpack plus a foldaway bag, as a gift for young people who have left the care system instead of having to use a bin bag to carry their personal belongings in this year.
The bags will be given out at Christmas Day Dinner celebrations run by community groups in three areas- Richmond (London), Ellesmere Port in Cheshire and South London for the young people ensuring that care leavers across the UK have a Christmas Day to remember.
Leaving care is a key moment in these young people’s lives, and events and gifts like these have a lasting impact. Loneliness and isolation is magnified on Christmas Day for many, especially this year with the pandemic. For the last number of years both events in London and in Cheshire have ensured that no young adult care leaver spends Christmas Day alone. With the pandemic making it difficult for events to take place, despite this all sets of organisers are making sure it all goes ahead within the required restrictions.
Dave Linton, founder of Madlug said,
“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on us all, not least for those young people who find themselves leaving the care system. We are so excited to be working with all three communities on their amazing Christmas events ensuring that each of the young people receive Madlug bags as part of their Christmas gifts.”
According to Barnados, young people leaving care are some of the most vulnerable young people in our society and often forced to be independent much younger than their peers. In England 21% of children leaving care are as young as 16, and 62% are leaving at 18 years-old. Like many other 16 year-olds, they don’t often tend to have the life skills to live independently and find adult life difficult due to traumatic childhoods.
“We are appealing for the general public to donate £30 (the cost of a backpack) this Christmas so that we can give a bag to each young person who attends. We want them to know that someone cares and loves them enough to give them a gift and that they don’t have to carry their things around in a bin bag. Every child and young person in the care system is incredible, they have value, worth and deserve to be treated with dignity.”
Sian Thomas, nurse and one of the organisers of the Richmond Christmas Day Dinner said,
“This year, it’s more important than ever that we pull together for these young people. Our plan is for veritable sleigh-loads of Santa-approved elves (volunteers!) to deliver the festive spirit with all the trimmings. We will run activities on Zoom throughout the afternoon. We’re creating a Christmas Day Experience to remember for extraordinarily resilient local young people who’ve been in care and need to feel the support of kind people on the big day.”
This will be the first year The Christmas Dinner will be held in South London. One volunteer who received a Madlug bag last year said,
“I was overwhelmed by the kindness- that people would want to give me a gift even though I’m a complete stranger to them and they have never met me. It made me realise that even though I don’t have family who care about me, that there are people in the world who will share kindness and help me feel cared for.”
Jessica Egan Simon from Action Transport Theatre, organiser of the Ellesmere Port Christmas Dinner said,
“Sadly, due to lockdown, we cannot offer a sit down face-to-face meal this year, however, our committed steering group of volunteers are planning deliveries of presents, food hampers, advent calendars and Christmas decorations for our young people’s homes. We are very grateful for companies like Madlug who donate to the events meaning young care leavers can experience a wonderful day.”
Madlug have donated over 20,000 bags to children in care across the UK since they launched in 2015. With every bag purchased, Madlug will give a bag to a child in care, which will help the on their way with dignity.
To find out more information about Madlug please visit: madlug.com/products/christmas-campaign.