A group of kind-hearted students, known as The Education Elves, has launched a new scheme to spread some festive magic to families in need.
Education Elves has been set up by PGCE Primary student Megan Potter, who was inspired to help families struggling this Christmas after hearing a talk on the effects of poverty as part of her studies. She is being supported by other student volunteers in various elements of the project.
The 21-year-old has set up a Facebook page and an Amazon wish-list (as a COVID-safe approach) for people to make donations. There are also Education Elves pin badges for sale, with the money raised going towards supermarket vouchers for disadvantaged households.
She said: “I’m very conscious of how difficult this year has been for everyone, with more people being needing help with less in a position to give. Education Elves cannot solve an issue such as poverty, nor provide support to everyone who needs it, but it can bring some Christmas cheer to families who need it the most!
“I think the challenges of 2020 have been a real motivation for me to make the project become a reality. I myself has really struggled this year because of the restrictions, missing out on moments such as graduation, losing a job, really missing friends and I know everyone is struggling in their individual ways. If Education Elves can bring some Christmas joy to even one family then I’ll be happy!”
Megan and her fellow students have selected the gifts on the wish-list which they hope will engage children and encourage them to learn too.
She added: “The items on the list were picked for a few reasons. We wanted some of the gifts to be educational, but also things for children to do, as with all the lockdown restrictions they are spending more time at home than ever before, so we thought crafts, games etc would be great! And other things are popular bits in supermarkets that children may typically wish for, or see their peers have.”
They have already received some amazing donations from companies. Megan said: “I’ve loved seeing the support we have been able to generate for the project. From big brands like Dr Pawpaw and Top Trumps to small businesses on Etsy and from complete strangers through the Amazon Wishlist, despite the struggles of 2020 so many people are helping us make Christmas that extra bit special this year!”
Megan previously graduated from the University with a degree in Events Management, through which she was involved with numerous fundraising and volunteering opportunities and was the winner of the University Volunteering Charity Choice Award.
Jo Morison, Mentoring Project Officer, in the University’s Student Futures Department, said: “Megan was a dedicated volunteer during her undergraduate studies, demonstrated by her winning the Charities Choice Award at our Volunteer Celebration Event this year. I am thrilled to see that Megan continues her charitable initiatives in her further studies, demonstrating the real positive impact our citizen students can have on the local community.” To make a donation visit https://www.facebook.com/educationelves/