Elf efforts raise Cash for Kids

Santa’s little helpers have been helping bring gifts to children who might not have otherwise received gifts under the tree this Christmas.

Staff at Stockton Riverside College, Bede Sixth Form, NETA Training and The Skills Academy, dressed as elves as part of their annual Elf Yourself celebrations, collecting toys and gifts for Cash for Kids’ Mission Christmas.

“Elf Yourself is a popular event at Stockton Riverside College,” said apprenticeship compliance manager and chair of the staff association, Nikki Thurston. “This year we invited colleagues from our sister colleges to get involved.”

With some staff currently working from home, she said: “We didn’t have quite the number of elves that we usually have on site, but staff were incredibly generous and we collected more gifts than ever.”

The team from health, childcare, education, creative and digital made cash donations, raising £200, and staff headed out to stock up on Christmas gifts.

The department’s programme area leader, Kelly Johnson, said: “I think that we are all aware that during lockdowns money has been tight for a lot of families. We wanted to buy toys and gifts to help people in the local community. It is important that we recognise how fortunate we are.”

Staff members also made donations directly to the charity online.

Handing over the goodies to Cash for Kids’ Mission Christmas driver George Headley, Nikki said: “Staff generously donated gifts of all shapes and sizes, and there was more for the older children this year too. People often just think about donating gifts for the under 10s, but there were lots of gifts for the teenagers as well.”

Cash for Kids’ Aimee Littlefair said: “The support we receive every year is overwhelming and we couldn’t complete our mission without the support of the local community. We can’t thank the colleges enough for joining our Mission and helping make Christmas magical for thousands of local children living in the North East.”