This Christmas, join us in spreading holiday cheer throughout the Marble Arch community. Our Community Programme has a packed calendar ahead as volunteers team up to sprinkle a little festive magic around local schools and charities, creating enchanting Christmas grottos, wrapping gifts, and decorating community spaces.
In a year that’s posed many challenges, particularly with the cost of living crisis impacting people in our local community, we invite you to make a difference. Consider contributing items to nearby schools, charities, and community centres that support local people this holiday season. Read on to find out how to help local community organisations.
If you’re inspired to collect festive donations for these organisations, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Community team. Together, we can make this Christmas a truly special one for everyone in our community.
How to support people with learning disabilities
LDN London (formerly known as the Westminster Society) provides support for people with complex needs and profound and multiple disabilities. The charity runs a number of day centres and residential properties across Westminster and the surrounding boroughs to support individuals and their families.
Each year LDN London goes around all of their services with a Christmas goody bag packed with festive treats – biscuits, Christmas cake, mince pies, Christmas pudding, sweets etc. In particular, they always include the M&S light up Christmas biscuit box they release each year. LDN would be so grateful if teams could provide items for these goody bags – there are a total of 45 services so they would need 45 of each item. They would also love to receive Christmas crackers to use at their events and parties.
How to support children and young people
College Park Special School
College Park School is a community school for pupils aged 4 – 19 with autism and complex learning needs in the moderate to severe range. There are seven primary classes, four secondary classes and provision for pupils aged 16+. In total the school has 120 pupils across 2 sites. There are up to 10 pupils in a class and a very high teacher: student ratio, due to the high level of support needs of pupils.
Every year College Park tries to give each child a present, often something small like a sensory toy or chocolate box. The school tries to personalise the gifts, so a range of sensory toys and gifts that would meet varied needs and be suitable for different ages would be so appreciated.
St Peter’s CE Primary School
St Peter’s Church of England Primary School is a small primary school for children aged 4 – 11 years of age located in North Paddington. There are approximately 200 children in total and one class per year group.
This winter, St Peter’s would love to deliver Christmas sacks to vulnerable families. The school have organised this in previous years and it has been a lovely and unexpected treat for families who struggle to get by with basic food items, let alone Christmas presents for children. Items for the Christmas sacks can include small gifts for children (such as games and toys), festive food items and/or festive decorations (chocolate, biscuits, stuffing, Christmas crackers, festive wreaths or garlands, Christmas tree decorations).
Additionally, St Peter’s run several clubs for children. The school run these for very low cost so they are accessible to every child attending the school. Items to support these clubs would be very welcome. These can include puzzles, brain teasers, jigsaws, and construction toys such as Lego. The school have a very keen and budding chess club, and would love to have a tabletop game for their playground benches, encouraging even more children to learn.
The school would also love for a team to sponsor piano lessons to disadvantaged children. £1,500 will provide free one to one piano lessons for 10 pupils for a whole term.
Edward Wilson Primary School/ Blomfield Road Garden
Edward Wilson is located in Paddington and supports 400 pupils. The school would welcome the following items to support its outdoor classroom at Blomfield Road Garden. All the items listed will be used by pupils visiting the garden.
- Pots – for indoor use as children will take these home.
- Children’s gardening gloves – the school would love for the children to take these home and use the skills they have learnt to care for their own plants and herbs.
Marylebone Boys’ School
Marylebone Boys’ School is a relatively new free school in Paddington Basin. The school is attended by around 700 students, with about half of these children classified as disadvantaged and in receipt of pupil premium.
This Christmas Marylebone Boy’s School are planning to sell Christmas cards that the students have designed. All proceeds will go towards fundraising to buy new books, games, and equipment for the school. The school are looking for sponsorship to cover the cost of making the cards and local venues (such as offices) where the students can visit and sell their cards.
The school would also like to expand their games collection and have created a Amazon wish list of games the students would enjoy: Marylebone Boy’s School – games wish list.
How to support St John’s Hospice
St John’s Hospice is an independent charity located within the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in St John’s Wood. Established over 30 years ago, the Hospice provides specialised palliative care to more than 3,000 terminally ill patients and their families each year. The Hospice has a 17-bed inpatient unit, as well as providing care to people in their own homes.
The hospice would be hugely grateful to receive donations of the following items:
- Christmas gifts for patients – soft items such as blankets, gloves and scarves, toiletries, creams and nice smelling diffusers are all popular options. Additionally, any sweet treats such as boxes of chocolates or biscuits, or savoury options such as crackers, pickles and chutneys would be so gratefully received.
- Christmas decorations and crackers.
- Christmas hampers to be shared amongst staff.
- Donations for a Christmas raffle.
- Arts supplies and craft kits.
- Gifts such as gingerbread and chocolates for hospice volunteers.
You can make a financial donation to St John’s Hospice here.
If your team would like to hold a Christmas collection for any of our local community partners, please do not hesitate to get in touch and we can facilitate this for you. Our community team would be delighted to work with you to facilitate your collection for the Marble Arch community.