Blue Sky Fostering is supporting a Christmas gift drive for care leavers. The drive was established by Sophie Hannington, who was in foster care herself, in order to bring the local community together to support vulnerable young people who’ve left their fostering family home. Care leavers often feel quite alone at this time of year and it’s important to Sophie, and to us, that we do what we can to make them feel supported.
We are supporting Sophie’s drive by encouraging people in the local community, our Foster Carers and staff to give a small gift or donation for care leavers at Christmas time. We’ll be opening up a number of our local hubs as drop-off points for gifts, as well as spreading the word for Sophie’s cause. Gifts can be in the form of a Christmas hamper, or individual gifts that care leavers will benefit from, such as supermarket vouchers, hats, scarves and gloves, toiletry sets or treats such as chocolates and Christmas foods. An Amazon wish list has also been set up where gifts can also be bought from.
Blue Sky hubs who are collecting gifts are Romsey, Ringwood, Swanwick and Basingstoke. You can find their addressses on our website here.
Sophie explains the importance of the drive:
“Leaving your family, then leaving a foster family and starting all over again at such a young age can be a daunting and lonely experience for some. You can feel unloved and worthless and it's these times we as a community need to step in and support these young people on their journeys of finding their place in the world, with the right support so they feel like they have a family in the community around them. This is more than just the gifts, it's about making sure these young people know they are not alone as we are here to support them.”
Sophie is not new to the role as Mother Christmas, as a trustee of the YMCA, she has previously coordinated gift collections for local care leaving teams, collecting over 2,000 gifts for care leavers in the community.
If you would like to donate, please drop-off your unwrapped gift or visit the wish list above gift by Wednesday 12th December. Blue Sky and Sophie will then be putting your gifts together into small hampers for care leavers and distributing to care leavers in the local area, from all agencies, not just Blue Sky.
Let’s make their Christmas a little more special this year!