‘Father Christmas Is A Key Worker’…And No Child Should Be Exempt From His List.
If this year has taught us anything as a population, it’s that life can sometimes force our hand and put us in situations we never thought we would be in. The real value of kindness, consideration, and not just thinking but taking action on behalf of those less fortunate than ourselves has never rung truer.
Christmas doesn’t stop for Covid-19. And no child, no matter their background or situation, should go without something to smile about this year.
Here at Lyons, we’re committed to ensuring the strange and unfortunate year we’ve had has a happy ending – not just for our lovely guests and owners, but for the wider community too.
This is why we’ve decided to team up with the praiseworthy charity, North Wales Superkids. Its main mission is to provide toys and gifts to children from families living on the breadline – and this year more than ever, we realise that this is more families than seems fair.
What’s the charity about?
Charity founder, Margaret Williams MBE, said: “Life throws things at certain families. People suffer major illnesses, deaths or redundancy in the months leading up to Christmas. They might have to wait six weeks before income relief steps in and they obviously need this money to eat.
“It’s sad and a disgrace that food banks – and ourselves really – exist, but this is need over want. For children, the most important day of the whole year is Christmas Day. Imagine all that excitement and build-up, then waking up on Christmas morning to no presents. It’s heartbreaking for them.”
From today onwards, Lyons Robin Hood Holiday Park (Coast Road, Rhyl) will be acting as a drop-off point for the charity and accepting donations on their behalf. This means that children across North Wales who would usually go without presents (due to a variety of social, economic and other reasons) will be recipients of the gift of kindness this year.
What does North Wales Superkids do?
- Helps relieve the needs of children and young people up to the age of 25 who are socially and economically disadvantaged – whether through financial hardship, domestic violence, health, substance misuse or other social and economic factors
- Appeals for brand-new toys as donations from residents on behalf of those less fortunate
- Fundraises with businesses, local authorities and companies to acquire cash to buy more gifts
- Liaises with local authorities and agencies who work with families, and put them forward to receive gifts (the Toybox Appeal is referral-only)
- Ensures thousands of children have a Christmas to remember
- Offers holidays throughout the year to those most in need at their Superkids Caravan in Abersoch
How does the process work?
You can find out more about the Toybox Appeal here, or view our image below to learn more about the process:
How did the charity come about?
The charity was founded first as a group by Margaret Williams MBE from Flint.
Formerly working for social services in Rhyl, Mrs Williams said she feared a scheme called the toy box appeal – which distributed presents to children whose families were in crisis at Christmas – would end when she retired in 1999.
That year she formed the group and the toy box scheme helped about 200 children. To this day, Margaret helps around 1,500 children each year, sending out individual bags to the kids who need it most.
The charity liaises with agencies who work with deprived families – whether that’s social services, local authorities, healthcare service and even some schools. It’s these agencies that then put forward a recommended list for the year, which Margaret then takes and works her magic with.
Each bag is specifically designed for a child, and each gift carefully selected to suit the age group, interests, and needs.
Why is their work so important this year?
“It is not just about topping up families’ Christmas presents – this is specifically for families where no basic Christmas will be happening,” Margaret highlights year on year.
“Father Christmas is a key worker too. To children, he’s as important as healthcare workers, shop assistants, delivery drivers. And Christmas won’t just stop for Covid.”
Last year, they started bagging up as early as October for a North Wales family who’s mother had been given the news that her cancer was terminal. Given initially two weeks to live, and then just days, Margaret knew it was time to step in. They provided the presents and they moved Christmas forward so they could have it. Sadly these are the situations we face and it is about helping these families.”
But more and more agencies’ calling on the charity for help across North Wales and Margaret now fears that the situation will only continue to worsen for families as Christmas approaches. She says: “The usual reasons like families working on a low income will be there but on top of that we’ll probably need to account for people that are in the process of losing their jobs.
“Maybe they’ve been furloughed and they’ll sadly be losing their job but benefits now won’t kick in before Christmas because they take about six weeks. They’re the ones that are really going to be in trouble.”
I want to help – what can I do?
To help make a little one’s Christmas, all you have to do is buy one extra gift when you’re Christmas shopping this year. You can drop it off at Lyons Robin Hood reception (open 9 am-5 pm) or the security office on-park near the barrier (after 5pm.)
We know Christmas is a little different this year, so we are also accepting Amazon delivery parcels to Lyons Robin Hood, with the recipient’s name as ‘Toybox Appeal.’ Please make sure you order your deliveries or drop off your donations before the 10th of December.
It’s crucial (this year more so than ever!) that the gifts you donate are brand-new, in their original packaging, and do not contain any alcohol.
Margaret said: “We don’t ask people to buy expensive presents and don’t expect that. We’re looking for every day presents that you might give your child or grandchild – dolls, craft sets, footballs, annuals, books, cuddly toys, selection boxes, toiletry sets, CDs or DVDs.”
Drop off point address: Lyons Robin Hood, Rhyl Coast Rd, Rhyl LL18 3UU
Times: Reception (9am-5pm) and security office (out of hours)
Deadline: 10th December, 4:30pm
Fundraising page: North Wales Superkids’ Just Giving Page