Poorly Sunderland children meet Santa Claus ahead of Christmas

Santa Claus and his Elves drop in at the Christmas Party for children and familes who use Grace House, at Liberty Brown, Hylton Riverside, Sunderland on Satutrday.
Santa Claus and his Elves drop in at the Christmas Party for children and familes who use Grace House, at Liberty Brown, Hylton Riverside, Sunderland on Satutrday.

Youngsters who use a Wearside respite centre got the chance to tell Santa Claus what they want in their stockings this Christmas morning.

The children, who are cared for at Grace House in Southwick, were at Liberty Brown off Wessington Way in Sunderland for a special festive party.

The venue has been a long-term supporter of Grace House, and bosses were keen to provide a day of fun and food for the children and families that benefit from the centre.

Senior fundraiser at Grace House Karen Maclennan said: “We are thrilled to work in partnership with Liberty Browns who are such a big supporter of our charity.

“It is wonderful that the families who benefit from coming to stay at Grace House are able to enjoy an early Christmas party.

“The children are getting to know each other each time they come to Grace House and friendships are starting to blossom.

“Any opportunity for the children to have fun together is great, and it is nice for the families to be able to meet each other in a social setting and do something fun as a whole family.”

Alysha Potts, who is functions and events co-ordinator at Liberty Browns, said: “We are delighted to open our doors here at Liberty Brown for a very special Santa’s Magical Grotto for the children of Grace House and their families.

“We have been long-time supporters of Grace House and the work they do with children with complex disabilities and life limiting conditions.

“We hope we have brought a little early Christmas cheer to the children and their families and helped make the festive season a magical time for everyone.

“We opened our doors to Santa’s Grotto and gave all children a chance to come along and spend 30 magical minutes with Santa, meet his elves and take away a surprise gift.

“For every ticket sold we have donated £1 to Grace House to continue to support their great work.”

Grace House provides specialist overnight short breaks for children aged five to 17 years and 11 months who have complex disabilities, health needs and life-limiting conditions.

Children can stay in its state-of-the-art building and have the time of their lives, while their families get to take a break and have a chance to recharge their batteries.

This year Grace House has developed additional services for the whole family including counselling, alternative therapy and support groups and have ambitious plans for 2017 which include having physio, occupational and speech and language therapists on site.