After taking the Met’s Annual Christmas Tree Appeal virtual for the first time in nine years, donations from Londoners have exceeded all previous records with more than £155,500 donated and a total of 21,998 presents purchased for children aged from one-week to 17 years old currently being cared for by foster parents, in residential care homes, refuges, hospitals, or from low-income families.
The majority of the presents have now been delivered by employees from the Local Authorities, with support from officers and Met volunteers – all in a ‘Covid secure’ manner.
The money that has been donated has been used by the Childhood Trust Charity, the Met’s partner for the second year running, to purchase thousands of extra presents for those that need them this Christmas.
Commissioner Cressida Dick, said: “The generosity that Londoners have shown this year in supporting our annual Christmas Tree Appeal has been amazing – especially considering the type of year we have all faced.
“Thank you to everyone who has donated money or purchased a present. Your actions will make sure that thousands of children across London, who would not have received a present at Christmas, now have something to open on the day.”
Laurence Guinness, Chief Executive of the Childhood Trust, added: “We have been inspired by the generosity and kindness of everyone who donated and thank each and every person who took the time to make a difference for a child in need. These gifts will provide a beacon of hope for London’s most vulnerable children, showing them that people care about their lives.”
This is the ninth year the Met has run its annual appeal. It began with one tree outside New Scotland Yard being decorated with gift tags which provided information on how to buy a present for a child in care. The public were encouraged to take a tag and buy a present, which they then handed in to their local Met police station. Officers then ensured the presents were distributed to children across the capital.
This year, due to Covid-19, we had to take a different approach to help keep everyone safe, while still making sure children who may otherwise not receive a gift have something to open for Christmas.
Last year, the campaign saw more than 22,000 presents delivered, ready for Christmas morning.