Post-Covid scheme aims to put a ‘smile’ on every Portsea child's face this Christmas

AN events group has launched an appeal to the community so that children in struggling families can have the Christmas they deserve.

By Elsa Waterfield
Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 11:04 am
PEG Christmas gifts

Caption: Organisers of the Portsea christmas initiative, Amie Philips, James Bollard and Carly Gardner
Credit: Portsea events group (PEG)
PEG Christmas gifts Caption: Organisers of the Portsea christmas initiative, Amie Philips, James Bollard and Carly Gardner Credit: Portsea events group (PEG)

Amie Philips, Carly Gardner and Dolly Cowlishaw, who run the non-profit Portsea Events Group are encouraging businesses and individuals to donate gifts to brighten up Christmas for children whose families are facing a difficult financial situation this winter.

On December 16, the group will be inviting 130 children from the Portsea area to join them for a magical Christmas experience free of charge, during which they will hand out presents donated by the public.

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The organisation will offer residents and businesses the chance to pick a label displaying the age, gender and preferences of a child in the area from Christmas trees in the John Pounds Centre and the Ship Anson pub in Portsea, buy a gift and then place it under the tree in time for the event.

The party will run from 5pm until 7pm and the children will be provided with everything they may need for a meet and greet with Santa as well as lots more over the course of the event – from hot drinks to live music.

Councillor Kirsty Mellor, who represents the city council’s Charles Dickens ward, encourages all who are able, to donate a gift or offer support to the appeal after what is likely to be a ‘difficult winter’ for families following the impacts of the pandemic and a combination of high energy bills and cuts to Universal Credit.

Kirsty said: ‘The majority of food banks have seen demand soar in the weeks since universal credit was cut. Communities such as Portsea have a high level of deprivation however women such Amie, Dolly and Carly are selflessly making sure no child goes without a gift this Christmas.’

Organisations offering community projects such as this one are helping to reassure families in Portsea and surrounding areas that they will not face a winter as bleak as the last.

Amie, one of the main organisers of the appeal, said, ‘We want to make sure that every child is treated exactly the same no matter what background they come from. Our desire is to put a smile on children's faces at Christmas.’

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