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Redditch Mission Area helped provide Christmas presents to over 600 children

Published: 13th February 2024

The 12 Anglican churches which make up the new Redditch Mission Area came together for the Make Christmas Special Toy Appeal 2023, which aimed to bring the magic of Christmas to children facing challenging circumstances. The appeal recognised every child's right to experience the joy of the season and was a huge success, providing Christmas gifts to 605 children across 259 families, regardless of race, religion, or gender.

Shop unit in Redditch with donated gifts laid outPartnerships and Community Engagement

Church engagement and collaboration were key to the appeal's success. Referrals for children in need came from social workers, schools, food banks, the probation service, Jobcentre, and women's refuges.

The Kingfisher Centre generously donated the use of a shop unit, transformed into a festive haven filled with thousands of donated toys and the appeal was supported by Redditch BID and local newspaper, The Redditch Standard.

All 12 churches in the Mission Area to came together to participate. Some churches held special Toy Services, others collected and delivered donations and still others contributed enthusiastic volunteers. These volunteers played various roles, from collecting and delivering toys to setting up the shop unit and staffing it during operating hours on two Saturdays in December.

This project also fostered ecumenical relationships, creating an inclusive network of support across churches in Redditch.

Preserving dignity in a safe space

The aim of fitting out a shop unit was to provide shopping-like experiences for families, preserving their dignity throughout the process whilst providing a safe space where prayer and pastoral conversations could also take place. Families received vouchers to choose three gifts of their choice per child.

A teacher who referred two vulnerable children commented:

“I found the whole experience to be extremely positive, the system was excellent with a fabulous selection of gifts. The staff were warm, welcoming and very helpful. I cannot think of anything that could be improved upon, every detail was considered even down to sellotape, wrapping paper and tags.”

Revitalising RedditchOutside view of shop unit

While the heart of the appeal lay in providing toys, it went beyond material offerings and provided the opportunity to show that the 12 Redditch mission area churches could work together in a meaningful way.

The appeal solidified the churches' role as integral members of the community, bringing joy and comfort to families in need as well as showing the members of the burgeoning Mission Area that working together has a profound impact and does not detract from their home churches unique identities.

By embracing similar opportunities going forwards, the Redditch Mission Area can continue to Revitalise Redditch and foster a compassionate and interconnected community throughout the year.

Page last updated: Wednesday 14th February 2024 8:53 AM

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