Care leavers in Canterbury have been invited to a special Christmas Dinner by the city’s very own Poet Laureate, Lemn Sissay.
The Christmas dinner is an annual project created by Mr Sissay, for communities to provide a Christmas Day for care leavers aged between 18 and 25.
The project was founded in 2013 and has been held at various venues across the UK since. This year, it will be held in: Manchester, Islington, Hackney, Richmond, Stockport, Sheffield, Birmingham, Canterbury, Wirral, Liverpool and Leeds.
The poet and MBE was announced as Canterbury’s Poet Laureate in April this year. Wise Words and The Marlowe Theatre included the Christmas Dinner as an integral part of Sissay’s Laureateship within Canterbury.
Volunteers come together to organise the event by sourcing venues, transport, food and presents.
The money is raised via crowdfunding. So far, over £18,000 has been raised and the target is £25,000.
Vicki Oliver, volunteer on the Steering Group, shares on what to expect from this year’s Christmas Dinner in Canterbury:
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Sissay was in care from the age of 12 to 18, and told the BBC:
Christmas Day actually exposes the inadequacies of a system which treats children as if they are a problem because that day the child stands alone thinking ‘I must be a problem, I’m obviously not worth anything because there is nobody here’.
At its most simple the Christmas dinner offers a memory so next year the person can look back and think I was worth something then.”
WATCH the events from the first Christmas dinner held in Manchester below!
Credit to: Crowdfunder