As the festive period comes to an end and we enter another New Year, we think it’s important to celebrate some of the things we’ve been able to achieve this Christmas. We know Christmas can be a difficult time for families, filled with many different feelings; our goal always is to ensure children and families feel supported, bringing light and hope to families, as well as making Christmas as magical as possible for the children and siblings we support.

This year, we distributed over 200 of our Christmas grants to the families of children on active treatment. This financial support helps to ensure that families can give patients and siblings a special Christmas, regardless of cost. We also distributed our own gifts and Christmas Eve boxes to children staying on the wards, making sure that they could have a special Christmas, despite not being at home.

In December, we held a number of festive groups and events, the first of which being our annual Sibling Trip to Stockeld Park. The SUPER SIBS as they like to call themselves, had an amazing time meeting Santa, seeing reindeer, ice-skating, eating pizza and having an all-out blast around the playgrounds and maze at the park. We had some amazing feedback including this from Vikki, mum to Ismay and Nina:

I just wanted to email to say thank you for the trip to Stockeld Park at the weekend. Ismay had a brilliant time! It came at the perfect time for us, in terms of everything that’s been going on with Nina. It was just fab that Ismay could go and do something really fun, festive and lovely – that we can’t quite manage as a family just at the moment – and especially after a particularly difficult handful of weeks. Ismay had been really upset in the morning, with all the hospital stuff, and by the time I collected her she was in great form and chatted all about the trip all the way home! Which was amazing. Ismay loved it. And Steve and I are so grateful for everything you did to organise it and the day itself. So a great big thank you.

We were excited to welcome our lovely Mums and Grandparents to The Square for some wreath-making sessions, as well as hosting a get together for our Dads at an escape room, with all of these events providing an opportunity to catch up and chat in a totally safe space.

And we also brought lots of festive fun to our social media with the antics of Trixie the Elf, who got up to all sorts of naughtiness across the wards, clinic, Candlelighters Cottage and Candlelighters Family Support Centre, The Square. From diving into sweet bowls and going for a spin in the washing machine to trying out stilts and cooking up a storm, Trixie definitely brought the mischievous Christmas spirit and as well as providing some light-hearted fun, Trixie helped to show families all of the areas that Candlelighters provides support which they can access.

We’d like to say a big thank you to anyone who supported Candlelighters in 2021, be that as an individual or business, trust or foundation, volunteer or fundraiser – thanks to your support we’re able to offer a fantastic range of support for families not just at Christmas, but all year round. We have lots of plans for 2022 and we can’t wait to share them with you soon, we hope 2022 is kind to you all.

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