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Skipton Step Into Action Christmas Elves Appeal

Skipton Step Into Action Christmas Elves Appeal

Hundreds of individuals and organisations in Craven have demonstrated what we can truly achieve when we work together as a community. Skipton Step Into Action’s Christmas Elves appeal 2020 has provided 40 tailor-made hampers exclusively for clients of the organisation, Christmas gifts to 119 children whose families have had a tough year, and Christmas meals to 20 of our clients. Ultimately, the appeals created a bit of extra sparkle this Christmas for families and individuals struggling due to the pandemic.

SSIA were inspired to do more to support families in the district as a result of SSIA helping SELFA to deliver replacement free school meals over half term. Hannah Crabtree, volunteer and trustee of SSIA and the driving force of the Christmas Elves Scheme, said “We realised that those families who were struggling to find the money for food were really going to struggle at Christmas. The pressure to provide multiple presents can be overwhelming, and we didn’t want people to feel they needed to be getting into debt at an already difficult time. We also knew that there were a significant number of people looking for a way to help out and give back – and in the end the two things came together in just the right way.”

Parents were invited to request a specific gift, up to the value of £20, for each of their children. These requests were entered anonymously onto a gift list, which other people could buy on their behalf. Generous donations of knitted hats & scarves, toys, games, craft items, chocolate, books and cuddly toys meant that each child received a big bag of presents to open on Christmas Day.

SSIA would like to thank the many individuals and organisations who contributed to the success of the appeal. Special thanks go to North Yorkshire County Council for the grant of £1000; McDowell’s, who donated £500; Skipton Craven Rotary club and Skipton Rotary club who donated £300; Giggleswick School Parents’ Association, who donated 40 craft sets; Stainless Band, for 20 shoebox gifts; Morrisons, for gifts and wrapping paper; Tesco, for raffle prizes and wrapping paper; Keelham Farm Shop, for hamper boxes and fresh fruit; Clavis & Claustra, for stationery gifts; and the Thompsons, who donated 42 soft toys.

Mayor Karen McIntyre, Councillor Andy Solloway, Councillor Tony Barrett and Councillor Alan Hickman participated in the Santa Fun Run in aid of SSIA, raising a total of £200. Simon Holt, of Croft House Advisors, donated £200 to help provide Christmas dinners for 20 people. SSIA would also like to thank all the individuals from across Skipton & Craven who bought gifts from the list, made knitted gifts, bought raffle tickets and donated raffle prizes. Overall, the donations of money and items received, and the gifts bought, represent a total fundraising effort of over £5000.

Many local people gave their time and resources to support others in their community; Cool! Cards & Gifts in Skipton took gift donations; Skipton Fire Service delivered gifts; SCAD helped to move the gifts from storage to the wrapping location; Select Group helped to move the gifts, and also donated a very generous amount of gifts; Land Rover collected gifts all over the district and donated the Grand prize of a Land Rover Experience family ticket to our Skipton Community raffle; NFU organised a toy collection at their offices and generously offered us an area to store and prepare our hampers; Robert Riley very kindly gave us a huge space to sort and wrap the hundreds of gifts, in preparation for delivery. Also, an extra special thank you to all of the primary school children who produced wonderful Christmas pictures and poems for us to send to our clients on our special postcards.

Finally, thank you to the team of SSIA volunteers, who have given their time to organise and wrap the gifts, and then deliver them directly to local families the week before Christmas, helped out by Skipton Fire Service.

Volunteer Sarah Wilson said “We have been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of our wonderful community coming together to spread  some Christmas happiness delivering our hampers at a time when so many people are living alone at this time of year. I feel very proud to live and be part of such an amazing community group in Skipton.”

Founder Charlotte McKeown said, “The schemes were such a huge success that this is something we will be continuing on an annual basis. The feedback we have had from individuals and parents has been truly heart-warming.”

“Thank you SSIA for my lovely hamper and your kind gifts for my son. I’m absolutely blown away by the generosity of this amazing organization” (Carla Finnegan)

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