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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-09-12

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

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5 star Christmas dinner for Wirral's care leavers

VOLUNTEERS have come together to provide a 5* Christmas dinner for 30 young care leavers aged 18 to 25 who would otherwise be alone and isolated on Christmas day. For now, the venue is a surprise, but has been described as:- 'ultra modern' and 'fabulous' and has been provided completely free of charge. The 'secret' venue has also arranged for award winning Merseyside Chef Paul Askew, from the Art School restaurant in Liverpool, to provide his time, expertise and food for free. Similar events have taken place across the country in previous years but this is the first time the event will happen in Wirral. Organisers have been so impressed with the plans and support from donors that plans are already well under way for Christmas dinner 2018. Nothing will go to waste. A local chip shop owner has kindly donated take away trays so that guests can take away 'doggie bags' and any leftover food will be distributed to Neo Caf?and the YMCA. Wirral Council has agreed to fund the cost of taxis to enable all of the guests to travel in style to and from the event on Christmas day.

Karen Smith, 1 of the volunteer organisers of the event said:- "This event is so much more than a dinner. Of course we are going to have a 5* 3 course meal, but the meal is all about coming together. It's about sharing and making friends. It's about having a place to go when you feel low and isolated or when you think you don't belong anywhere. It's also about knowing you aren't alone and that there are people who understand you and are there for you on Christmas Day; unconditionally."

Gina left care in 1990 at the age of 18 and felt compelled to help out at this event:- "When I heard about the Wirral Christmas dinner through a friend I wanted to help. I wish there was something like this when I left care. Leaving care is daunting and scary. Wirral Christmas dinner is a fantastic opportunity for young people to have Christmas dinner with other care leavers. It can be the start of new friendships and opportunities for them. It means they don't have to be alone on Christmas day in a safe environment where people care about them."

Before everyone sits down for dinner, there will be old fashioned games like charades and afterwards, a Christmas film in front of the TV. Guests will also receive a visit from Santa who will be delivering personalised gifts to everyone in attendance.  To donate a gift, visit the events Facebook Page 'Wirral Christmas Dinner' where you will find an Amazon gift list that has lots of great gift ideas that have been paired with guests' hobbies or interests. Alternatively, send them an email for more information or deliver any gifts to the following drop off points:- Blackberry Grove Restaurant, New Brighton; Bromborough Civic Centre; Bebington Civic Centre or Tranmere Rovers' Shop. You can continue to donate gifts up to 23 December 2017.


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