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Cardiff University staff spend Christmas Day volunteering with care-experienced young people

21 December 2023

A decorated Christmas tree

Staff at Cardiff University’s CASCADE research centre and the School of Social Sciences have volunteered to spend their Christmas Day with those who would otherwise be alone.

Hosting a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, volunteers will give care leavers in Cardiff a special day to remember for the second year running.

Ahead of 25 December, volunteers spent today preparing by wrapping gifts and planning activities for young people from Cardiff and within a 30-mile radius. This year they have had requests for young people to attend who live further away.

One of the organisers, Lorna Stabler, said:

"We know there are other young people out there who can't attend because they are too far away, so we want to inspire and support more events to set up next year to ensure no care-experienced young person in Wales is alone at Christmas."

Building on last year, a group of volunteers with knowledge of the needs of care-experienced young people will again work together to ensure that fewer young adults will be alone on Christmas Day.

This year, up to 40 guests are expected.

Care-experienced young people live foster care, kinship care or children’s homes when growing up and can be more likely to experience social isolation as adults.

They are twice as likely to report feeling lonely most or all of the time than other young people in the general population.

The dinner and activities are inspired by similar dinners in a range of English cities.

The movement was started by the renowned poet Lemn Sissay, who has written extensively about his own experiences of growing up in care.

Ffion, the youngest volunteer was just 15 when she took part last year, said:

“I loved volunteering on Christmas Day. It was great meeting the young people; we chatted, played games and did some arts and crafts. The Christmas dinner was delicious and the best bit was watching everyone open their presents. I will definitely be getting involved again this year!”

Guests will receive gifts and dinner and get involved in fun activities for a day of companionship.

Find out more about CASCADE and the School of Social Sciences.

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