The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, Cressida Dick, has launched the annual Christmas Tree appeal by lighting up the tree outside New Scotland Yard.
Commissioner Dick, said: “Each year our annual Christmas Tree Appeal ensures that thousands of children across London receive gifts they may not have otherwise.
“The generosity and goodwill of our own officers, staff and fellow Londoners who donate money and buy gifts grows and grows each year.
“We are hoping that this year will be our biggest year to date and even more children benefit as a result of this wonderful cause.”
The gifts that were bought by the public in last year’s appeal, as well as monetary donations, enabled 19,000 gifts to be delivered to children across London.
In the run up to the launch, thousands of children entered a competition to design a poster to promote the annual appeal. Every borough selected a local winner, who attended New Scotland Yard today with their families. The children also received certificates recognising their participation.
Commissioner Cressida Dick was joined by the overall poster competition winner, nine-year-old Tom Harvey, from Ealing, who helped her switch on the Christmas tree lights.
Tom’s drawing depicts Santa Claus wakeboarding down the River Thames on the back of one of the Met’s Marine Policing Unit’s boats. The boat, and Santa Claus, are both passing Big Ben.
Londoners are encouraged to get behind the campaign and give a gift by taking a tagged ribbon from the tree outside their local police station on their borough or at New Scotland Yard and following the instructions on the tag.
The public will also be able to donate online to a chosen charity.
The suggested spend for gifts this year is no more than £20.
This year’s charity is The Childhood Trust – London’s child poverty charity. Laurence Guinness, Chief Executive of The Childhood Trust, said: “For most children Christmas is a time of joy but poverty, homelessness, ill health and family breakdown mean that so many children in London are not looking forward to Christmas. We hope that Londoners will be generous and gift a present or donation so that together with the Metropolitan Police Service we can make this a Christmas to remember for thousands of children in need across London.”
The gifts will be given to children aged from one-week to 17 years old and benefits those in need across all London boroughs. The children are currently being cared for by foster parents, in residential care homes, in refuges, in hospitals, or are children from low-income families.
All gifts will be delivered to the children before Christmas Day.
Donations can also be made via the JustGiving page
- There are currently 700,000 children living in poverty in London with the number predicted to rise to over 1 million by 2020
- The Childhood Trust’s work is focused on helping the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children in London to overcome the impact of poverty to achieve their full potential.
- Since 2013, The Childhood Trust has raised £12.56m through its matched fundraising campaigns that generate on average £4.69 for every £1 donated.
- The projects funded by The Childhood Trust deliver vital services such as hot meals, mentoring, social work referrals and liaison, one-to-one educational support, psychotherapeutic counselling, sports activities, arts and cultural activities and family support in home.