Our Marble Arch Christmas elves have been busy sprinkling their seasonal magic all around the community this festive season, with volunteering activities and generous donation drives benefiting eight local community partners and schools.
Volunteers from Victory Services Club kicked off the season on 28 November 2023, visiting the Tresham Centre for Disabled Children & Young People to hang sparkling icicle lights and tinsel throughout their play areas.
The following week, seven colleagues from Berkeley headed to Social Supermarket, a food pantry at St Mary’s Church in Marylebone, to help distribute food donations, serve hot drinks and cake and chat to local participants. The team made the event festive by donating not only year-round essentials but also some Christmas treats such as mince pies and biscuits.
On 8 December 2023, colleagues at The Cumberland Hotel dressed as elves and as Father Christmas himself to welcome 41 children from Hampden Gurney CE School for a very exciting and festive Christmas film event. This was a reward trip for the children, and they certainly received a few treats – bedecked in their most sparkly Christmas jumpers, the pupils enjoyed a private screening of classic Christmas film Elf. The film was paused for mince pies, cakes and a hot chocolate station, where pupils could select their own toppings including whipped cream, sprinkles and marshmallows. The Cumberland provided Christmas colouring-in activities for pupils to create their own bright, festive masterpieces, and the morning ended with a photo opportunity in front of the hotel’s giant Christmas tree.
Volunteers from Hammerson returned to the Tresham Centre for Disabled Children & Young People on 11 December 2023 to make the site even more magical for the children who will participate in their Christmas holiday play scheme. Hammerson had kindly spent the weeks before their event collecting Christmas gifts for the children Tresham support and turned up with 55 presents to be given out over the festive season. On arrival, the Hammerson team split into 2 groups, with half of the volunteers getting to work wrapping the gifts and writing cards from Santa, and the other half transforming Tresham’s sensory shed into a magical festive grotto, where Father Christmas will set up his Marble Arch base and meet the children.
Companies across Marble Arch have been collecting kind donations for local schools and charities over the last few weeks. Bridgepoint led a donation drive for Essendine Primary School and St Peter’s CE Primary School, receiving an overwhelming number of items from generous colleagues. Bridgepoint Christmas angels collected a total of around 400 items worth approximately £3,000 for both schools. Volunteers collected hoops, skipping ropes and bouncy balls to ensure Essendine had plenty of fun PE supplies for the children to enjoy, and colleagues wrapped 150 Christmas gifts in addition to providing 40 boxes of biscuits and 30 boxes of chocolates for children at St Peter’s. Bridgepoint additionally donated 32 laptops to Essendine School for their computer suite, giving pupils consistent access to devices.
British Land held a donation drive across their Marble Arch office buildings, collecting chocolate selection boxes for every child at College Park School and a box of biscuits or chocolates for every carer supported by Open Age. In total British Land donated 215 boxes of treats for local people to enjoy this Christmas. Tate & Lyle colleagues were just as generous, donating to Edward Wilson Primary School’s environmental project. The school adopted a piece of land named Blomfield Road Garden in 2018 to engage with Key Stage 2 children and teach them to care for nature. Pupils now regularly visit with environmental tutors to learn about insects and wildlife, grow vegetables and participate in a gardening club. Tate & Lyle collected £300 to put towards some new raised beds and gardening gloves for every child.
Over 30 Marble Arch volunteers have contributed almost 100 hours of their time to local projects this festive season, spreading joy throughout the community. Victory Services Club will kindly return to the Tresham Centre in early January to help take down all their magical Christmas decorations, saving their staff team a huge amount of time. If you have been inspired by our Marble Arch festive helpers and would like to get your colleagues involved, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Community Team.