Westhoughton News

Let's share Christmas 2019
26/11/2019

Once again, we are planning to support those people locally who will face hardship this Christmas through our ‘Let’s Share Christmas’ appeal. Last year:

  • Over 500 students and their families generously donated items to our appeal.
  • Consequently, over 300 of our elderly neighbours received gifts handed out by students
  • A van full of food and toiletries was sent to Urban Outreach’s Storehouse project and a van full of toys and presents was sent to a local children’s Christmas gift appeal.
  • Over 300 chocolate oranges were distributed by students across Bolton Hospital for patients who will spend Christmas on the wards and the staff who will care for them.

This wonderful effort also gave dozens of students the opportunity to go into their community, meet those who face challenges at this time of year and experience the smiles, the tears and the appreciation that their kindness and generosity evoke. We hope these experiences will help to inspire the next generation of volunteers and community champions.

Whilst I appreciate that Christmas is an expensive time, once again we are encouraging staff, students and their families to come together as Team Westhoughton. Again, there are several strands to our appeal this year and we hope, through your generosity, to be able to share Christmas across Bolton. So, I am writing to request your help through any of the following donations, no matter how large or how small – as they say, ‘It’s the thought that counts!’

How can you help? We need:

Small gifts for our ‘Adopted Grandparents’ and elderly neighbours

We work very closely with a local befriending charity called Senior Solutions and Westhoughton Age Support Project (WASPS) to support our ‘Adopted Grandparents’ at this time of year by delivering cards and presents to the Christmas parties they arrange. A pair of gloves, a tin of biscuits, box of chocolates, Christmas candle, a tie or some socks would be fine – in fact this may be a great way to ‘recycle’ any unwanted gifts you may have received.

Presents for children under the age of 16

This year our children’s gift appeal will support the Bolton Toy Library who offer wonderful support to children, young people and vulnerable adults across Bolton, including those whose families are experiencing financial hardship at Christmas. They also bring together children and families who may benefit from some additional mutual support because of the challenges they face. They would really appreciate any donations but in particular:

  • Infants 0-2: any toys that light up or make sounds, along with activity centres, pushing buttons and pop ups
  • Toddler 2-3 years: role play sets, chunky animals, dinosaurs, cars, puzzles
  • 3-5 years: fun games, matching games, role play sets, medical kits, tools, shops and kitchen sets, dollies sets and boys figures in sets to role play
  • 6-9 years: games, marble runs, playmobile sets, Knex, kinetic sand, art/craft sets
  • 10+: older games

Chocolate oranges for medical staff and children spending Christmas in hospital

This year we will also share Christmas with those who will be spending Christmas in hospital and in doing so, extend into Bolton the wonderful work that Chris Lamb has done in memory of his son Elliott who died just before Christmas 2010, aged 4. This started with Chris buying a chocolate orange for Elliott’s physiotherapist and word got around with many other staff joking with Chris about where their chocolate orange was. After Elliott died, Chris did not want to celebrate Christmas at all but decided to set up this chocolate orange appeal to cherish Elliott’s memory. Since then he and all those who have joined his campaign have collected thousands of chocolate oranges for our medical staff and their patients.

Urban Outreach grub tubs to support those living in poverty

So that no one is forgotten we also plan to fill our Grub Tubs this year to support the Storehouse project. These tubs have become a regular Christmas feature and sit under the tree in the main reception for staff and visitors to contribute to whilst donations from students are stored in Santa’s Workshop until they are distributed to those who are struggling during the festive season. So, any small items of food or toiletries are welcome (perhaps a chance to clear out your cupboards before the big Christmas shop?).

A ‘Christmas Clear Up’ and ‘Kindness Attacks’

In addition to our charitable giving this Christmas, our Eco Team are also venturing out into Westhoughton to offer the gift of a ‘Christmas Clear Up’ to the Friends of Eatock Lodge, ensuring Eatock Lodge looks at its best for plenty of family walks over the festive period. Our Kindness Army will also be busy in the local area performing their ‘Kindness Attacks’ sharing small gifts and messages with members of the public on the lead up to Christmas.

Getting involved

We really hope you can help us in any way, large or small – in fact we would love it if all students could bring in one donation so that this could be a real ‘Team Westhoughton’ effort. A can of beans will be just as warmly received by our team of elves as any other gift that is donated to our celebration of community. We will be collecting donations until Friday the 13th December and would kindly ask you not to wrap presents as we have a special team of student elves tasked with that very responsibility. If you can help, your child can bring in the donation and register it with their form tutor during morning registration before taking it to ‘Santa’s Workshop,’ in the quad between A and B block, where they will be thanked for their kind donation. It is important for students to register these with their form tutors first though because we would like to reward participants with some additional merits.

As a school community, we would really like to dedicate this year’s appeal to the memory of Leonard Maycroft, a true champion of our local community and friend of the school who gave so much, to so many, for so long. We really hope you can share Christmas with us and help us to spread the spirit of Christmas across our town in the same spirit and manner that Leonard did for many years.