Success of charity’s Christmas Toy Appeal embodies ‘Stronger Together’ message
More than 1,000 toys and 500 festive food hampers have been gifted to vulnerable families in Wigan Borough as part of Leigh’s longest-running Christmas Toy Appeal.
Compassion in Action (CIA) collected toys – gifted by individuals, the local business community and the charity’s partners and patrons – throughout the 2023 festive season. These were then delivered directly to families, who had been referred to the charity, by a team of volunteers on Christmas Eve.
“The success of this project would not have been possible without the wonderful individuals, organisations and companies who donated money and presents to ensure every family referral was provided for,” said Pam Gilligan, CEO of CIA.
“In addition to gifting three brand-new, age-appropriate presents per child, we delivered a full roast dinner with vegetables and all the trimmings to more than 500 families. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped make all this possible. We are ‘Stronger Together’.”
Together with SuperLeigh, Challenge Cup winners Leigh Leopards once again put their full weight behind the appeal – calling upon ‘Leythers’ to support the worthwhile cause. Players visited the charity’s headquarters to drop off presents and spend time with staff and volunteer gift wrappers from Wigan Council’s Adult Social Care Team. A hundred red card memberships were also gifted by club owner Derek Beaumont – enabling children from vulnerable families to see their heroes in action at two matches of their choice when the new season begins.
“Leigh Leopards have been instrumental in their belief and support of the work of our charity – especially at Christmas,” added Pam. “Derek Beaumont has been our community rock, helping us to help others. The whole Leopards team and fans, with club captain John Asiata providing an inspirational lead, have supported our appeal year on year.”
The coordinated effort to make sure families received their toy and food parcels in time for Christmas was supported by Wigan Council’s senior executives and officers – including Director of Environment Paul Barton and Assistant Director Dave Lyon, as well as volunteers from construction company Greenmount.
The Borough-wide operation included toy deliveries to Royal Albert Edward Infirmary’s Rainbow Ward in Wigan, and further afield to the Children’s A&E Department at Royal Bolton Hospital.
CIA was founded in 2006 and received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – equivalent to an MBE – 10 years ago.