WCHG’S Mission Christmas 2020

Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (WCHG) helped spread some festive cheer in December through their annual Mission Christmas campaign, which this year helped celebrate the achievements of two very special WCHG employees we lost in 2020.

Colleagues raised an impressive £1300 which all went towards supporting families in need across Wythenshawe and also donated a large number of toys, alongside donations from WCHG Residents to the campaign which helped support 13 families who were struggling at Christmas and resulted in 34 children getting at least 2 to 3 toys each, with all remaining toys delivered to Lorna Lodge.

Running directly alongside this was Real Food Wythenshawe’s ‘Christmas Dinner in a Bag’ and Toy Campaign and this year the team and volunteers helped make and distribute over 175 Christmas Food and Goodie bags, which was 75 more than last year, and each bag included all the ingredients to make a full Christmas Dinner.

This year’s distribution was made extra challenging because of the pandemic, but in early December the team still managed to deliver 164 toy parcels which equates to over 1000 toys across the area. Referrals for this scheme came from their various partners agencies who helped identify those families most in need and included Barnardo’s, Early Help practitioners, Health visitors, Sandilands Primary School, Forum Health and Church of England representatives and WCHG teams.

12 staff volunteers from various WCHG departments helped support these campaigns by helping with the collection, sorting/packing and the distribution of the toys and Christmas food parcels with a total of 33.5 volunteering hours donated.

Our Motiv8 colleagues in conjunction with Stockport Homes, delivered over 150 presents to children of struggling families across Manchester and Stockport. In addition to this WCHG Motiv8 keyworkers organised over 30 special festive food packages to be delivered to participants on the programme who were without basic essentials at Christmas.

50 Christmas hampers were distributed to Real Neighbours and community volunteers with 6 donated to the Bideford Community Centre and telephone befriending service. Colleagues from the Benchill Community Centre, WCHG Youth Team, community champions at Asda and Tesco and
CK Hampers who run out of the Wythenshawe Enterprise Centre were all involved to help make this a huge success.

On Christmas Eve, WCHG’s Youth Team visited over 100 young people to wish them a happy and safe Christmas and give them a festive wellbeing pack which was filled with lots of fun things to do, including advice and information on where to get youth service support over the Christmas period.

Real Food Programme Manager Jacqueline Naraynsingh said, “2020 was such a tough year for everyone and I'm really proud of the team and that WCHG were able to play a small part in helping make things easier for some people here in Wythenshawe at Christmas. Unfortunately, Food Poverty is still a major issue and for many Christmas is a wonderful time but unfortunately for some it can also bring worry and stress about how to pay for presents and provide a Christmas dinner. On behalf of the team I would like to thank Craig Bell from City in the Community, The Manchester United Foundation and Wythenshawe Food Bank and all the team and volunteers who helped make this happen.”

WCHG Senior Community Investment Manager Sarah Woolley said, “Each year WCHG colleagues like to spread the festive cheer, this year was no exception, especially with losing two of our friends and colleagues Ammah and Dot. I feel privileged to work with such caring and selfless people who have yet again gone out of their way to support the community in Wythenshawe. Volunteering their time to support with collections, sorting toys and food bags, delivering and talking to local people in need and lifting spirits. From raising funds with grants, donating personally or coordinating for others to give their support, it makes me very proud to be part of such an awesome group of people.”