Over the last 72 hours, Blackpool Football Club and the Club’s Community Trust have been busy collecting, wrapping and distributing gifts for local Blackpool children who are at risk of not receiving a present on Christmas Day. Working closely with Blackpool schools, the Community Trust estimated 1460 children aged 4 – 11 may wake up without a gift to open on.
The operation this year started with a six hour round trip to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in Birmingham, where the gifts had been sourced and organised by Merlin Entertainments at a discounted rate. Once back at Bloomfield Rd, the Community Trust organised a wrapping evening to take place and invited Club staff, students, fans and volunteers to join us in wrapping and bagging the gifts ready to be distributed across the town. With over 60 Christmas helpers, we were able to complete the wrapping in just a few hours.
The 13th and 14th December were our designated delivery days where Community Trust staff were joined by Blackpool FC first team players to help drop off gifts at the local schools. As well as handing over the gifts, players stayed for Q&As with selected pupils, posing for photos with children and staff to help spread some festive cheer.
Marc Joseph, Head of Early Years and Primary for Blackpool FC Community Trust said:
“Having the players here to help support with the delivery of the presents is great. This is a Club and Town wide campaign that has seen all areas of the community help with making this work. The players being in schools is the icing on the (Christmas) cake, and seeing the children’s eyes light up when the players walked in was magical.”
Mereside Primary Academy Family Engagement Worker said:
“On behalf of Mereside Primary Academy, we just wanted to pass on our sincere gratitude for your gifts. We have already handed out the sets to numerous extremely grateful parents, who were struggling to buy any presents for their children. I just wish we could see our pupil’s faces, when they open the gifts on Christmas morning + hopefully the Lego will keep them occupied over the festive season.
Thank you to all your team at Blackpool Football Club”
37 Blackpool schools were in receipt of a gift as part of this year’s campaign with mainstream, Special Education Needs Schools and Pupil Referral Units all benefitting from the donations.
Funds from the original Christmas Campaign launched in 2020 has meant the Football Club have been able to gift 4,568 presents over the last three years.
Thank you to everyone who has been involved with the Campaign. You have contributed to the huge impact this has had on so many families across Blackpool.
Thank you to Practical Blackpool Van and Car Hire and Firwood for their contribution to our Christmas Campaign this year with Practical providing a van free of charge for us to use to collect and drop off gifts and Firwood for providing us with pallets to move gifts from A to B around the stadium.