The kind-hearted people of St Helens Borough have helped transform Christmas for young care leavers.
A wide range of businesses and members of the public generously donated food, money and gifts towards the Christmas hamper appeal which gives young people who might not receive anything at Christmas the kind of festive gifts that many others will get.
In total 135 hampers have been created, each one bespoke to every care leaver, and donations have also help fund a Christmas lunch for care leavers to celebrate together.
It is the second year that St Helens Ambassadors have run the scheme in partnership with St Helens Council.
And this year the collaboration has been backed by the family of Carole Hudson.
Carole was a leading figure in St Helens Borough and was particularly passionate about supporting young people.
Following her tragic death last year her family want to build on her legacy and help young people across the borough.
Linda MacMillan, Carole’s sister: “Carole was really private about her work but I know she cared with a genuine passion, it’s only since she died that we started to hear about all these lovely things she got involved in. That came across so passionately we decided as a family in Carole’s memory we wanted to continue the good work she had been doing.
“Carole was passionate that children have the right to succeed and be loved and be cherished and fit into every community and this is an opportunity to continue that legacy. Carole was very special and we are proud to have had her in our lives as a sister.”
A celebration event on Monday 16th December saw performances from Cowley International College choir, alongside care leavers giving dance and rap performances.
Joshua Morris gave an inspirational talk about being a care leaver and being supported. He said: “Hopefully I’ve been here inspiring other care leavers and it does make a difference in their lives because we need to make sure that children have a good future and the opportunities to be doing the best they can because unfortunately not every child comes from a wealthy background so hopefully we can make a difference to those.
“The donations give young people many opportunities and one of the best things I got when I was a care leaver was the hamper because they gave you a good-spirited Christmas and they gave you hope.”
Boots the Saints mascot was also on hand along with some of the Saints first team squad to join the celebrations on the day.
Leader of St Helens Council, Councillor David Baines said: “It is a real honour to have met some of our care leavers who talked passionately about the support they have had from their families and our amazing staff to create a better future for themselves and see the talent they have. They really are an inspiration and we take our role as a council to support them very seriously. It was also a great opportunity to thank the many businesses and members of the public who so kindly donated towards the hamper appeal this year making it bigger and better than last year.”