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TLG hosted a Christmas lunch followed by an awards ceremony for young people and families on Wednesday 12th December. They work with 11-14 year old boys who are at serious risk of permanent exclusion. Most of their families live in poverty and are involved with social services. Mental health issues, substance abuse and crime are common denominators in the lives of the young people. They wanted to provide some hope and joy at Christmas through food, a celebration of students’ achievements and invites to the local church family events such as Christmas services, mums and tots and activities for children and teenagers. It was also an opportunity for families to network and connect. 

"Our school is based in Harpurhey, a low socioeconomic community in North Manchester. Our school is for students who are at risk of being permanently excluded from mainstream education. We believe in looking after the whole child and therefore have close links with families and other community members. We usually do a Christmas dinner for just the students but this year we wanted to run a Christmas dinner that would include the students and their families as well as members of the communities and schools that have provided support to us throughout the year.

The event was attended by the students and their families as well as people from Manchester Communication Academy, Trinity High School and Christ Church, Harpurhey. Big Top Catering provided us with a two course complete Christmas meal. Approximately 35 people enjoyed a meal, quiz and an award ceremony for the students. One of our students mc'd the event and another student performed a rap about his time at TLG. Each family was also given a gift hamper that they could use over Christmas - a welcome gift for families that may be struggling to provide over the holidays.

The impact of this event was very positive. Students were able to reconnect with the school in a positive manner and end the year celebrating along with their teachers and families. Their successes were celebrated through the award ceremony which allowed them to see how they can make an encouraging impact. Families were able to network with each other and people from the local church which meant that some families were able to access the church’s Christmas Day dinner. Families were able to share stories about having a child at risk of permanent exclusion which gave them opportunities to find support and advice. The student who mc'd and the student who rapped also had an impact on members of TLG staff - they were encouraged to see that the work they are doing is transforming lives for good.

We really appreciate the grant that MACC provided us in the Sharing our Wellness Campaign. Without this money, we wouldn’t have been able to put on such a positive experience for our students and their families."