University of Sunderland community shows they care this Christmas after raising thousands of pounds for vulnerable students
The University of Sunderland’s staff and students have shown the true meaning of Christmas by raising over £11,000 to support some of the most vulnerable members of their community.
The We Care at Christmas appeal was launched by the University’s We Care team and Development Office to support students who have come through the care system and estranged students who may be feeling isolated over the festive period.
In total, the initiative raised raised £11,100 – smashing last year’s total of £10,000.
The university’s Vice-Chancellor led the way in showing that Christmas is a time for giving by donating £500 to the cause.
Sir David Bell said, “The We Care at Christmas appeal has touched the hearts of everyone in the University community, and well beyond too.
“For me – and for my colleagues at the University – this was an opportunity to remind our care-experienced and estranged students that they really matter to us and are valued and important members of the University community.
“I am enormously grateful to all those who have contributed to such a brilliant cause. As a result, many of our students and their families will enjoy a much better Christmas than might otherwise have been the case.”
The initiative, which included toys supplied by Mission Christmas, will support 177 students and 45 children.
For many of these students, Christmas is a time they will spend alone, perhaps without a card, gift, festive meal or companionship. For those students with children, it is a particularly difficult time trying to provide for their children, while making Christmas special.
Sunderland graduate Ryan Boyle, 30, and his young family were supported by the We Care at Christmas appeal last year. Ryan went into care when he was 14 and ended up living on the streets.
He now has a young family of his own and works as a teacher for children with social, emotional and mental health needs, and pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.
He said: “The kind people at the University of Sunderland, particularly the We Care Team, gave us all a reason to fight for a brighter future for ourselves and others.”
Georgiana Glavan, 27, is in the third year of her Business Management degree at the University’s London campus. Her parents were divorced when she was a child and she lost contact with her father. When Georgiana decided to come to England to study, she became estranged from her mother.
Georgiana, who now a young family of her own, was one of those to benefit.
She said: “Before Christmas I received a box with great presents inside. There was a bracelet for me with a Christmas card, a pack of colourful mini-cars for Eric and a musical xylophone for Eva.
“It was a huge relief for me as I no longer felt the pressure of buying presents for them.
“The We Care team have always been there for me when I felt alone and have helped me with financial support, events and treats and now Christmas gifts for my children. I cannot express how grateful I am to them.”
If you would like to find out more about the appeal or still donate, go to the We Care at Christmas Go Fund Me page.