PORTSMOUTH'S TANGIER ROAD CHILDREN'S HOME
V3 Christmas Doo with a twist!
So V3 decided to put on a Christmas do this year like no other... One that would make all involved at V3 remember this year with meaning and bring us back to earth with how good we have things.
This is was what it consisted of:
The V3 team were told to meet at 8.00am at the Guildhall with £25 they were prepared to blow and that they would be told more at that point.
So 8.00am at the Guildhall where they were all very punctual they were walked to the Isambard Kingdom Brunel multi-storey car park where two minibuses were waiting to take them to B&Q. B&Q I hear you ask??
Both vans then took off where the team on arrival were split into two, one to go and get paint including 5 litres of the colour Teal, and the other team to go and get Christmas Decorations including a REAL Christmas tree.
Then it was back to the vans where they were taken to a surprise location, the Tangier Road Children's Home. Where is that I hear you ask...? This is exactly what I said when I discovered it and so did they!
The Tangiers Children's homes is for children that have to live away from their own families for all sorts of reasons, for example:
- Their parents are unwell
- They have problems with their family and need to spend some time away from home, e.g. behaviour problems or educational difficulties
- They may have a disability and need a break from living with their families
- They are in the care of the Local Authority on a Court Order or an Interim Care Order.
- Over 90 new kids with anyone of the above came through the Tangier Centre in the last 12 months and there three centres in Portsmouth with one about to close.
So we gave the team a very emotional brief on what they were about to do and more importantly who for then we split them into three teams, one with only four people:
- There was a revamp of a very tired Games room (in the Colour Teal as this is what the children and staff picked) which is used by the children.
- We had to make the place as Festive as possible as they normally do not have decorations, certainly not like this anyway.
So 9.00 am we started and all of the duties had to be complete by 12pm. In the meantime the team of four people and the vans were sent off to do something pretty special;
- Find/buy 40 boxes
- Collect the £25 per person in and go and buy 40 x £25 worth of non-perishable foods and cosmetics IE Pasta, UHT Milk, Teabags, Sugar, Instant Hot Chocolate, Squash, Tins: beans/peas/stewed steak/ravioli/meatballs/sweet corn/tuna/potatoes, Super noodles, Pasta sauce, Pasta in a cup, Tinned meat pie, Spam, Eggs, Toilet rolls, deodorant.
- This was for a very small proportion (40) of the young kids of Portsmouth that are released from the Children's Homes/centres into the adult population at the young age of 16-18. They have very little in the way of friends and money and there are loads of them every year right on our own doorstep!!!! It really hits home as to what types of issues these young people have when you are kindly asked not to supply any razors or aerosols.. This is really sad!
One van and two people returned by 11am with approximately £10 per head of food. The amount that was bought for £10 was amazing but it made us realise just how much food was about to turn up. We all rallied together to box up all of the amounts bought so far and more boxes were needed so we sent two people out to approach the supermarkets. Have you ever asked a supermarket lately for a box.. This is no easy task trust me!!!!!
We called in a favour from Wiggle, one of our clients locally and they kindly gave us every box they could spare and even chucked in the sellotape guns for us. Thank you Wiggle!!!! Meanwhile the games room was receiving its final coat of paint, as were a few of the staff lol, the decorations were up and the lights around the place were on and bright!!!!
The final amounts of food arrived and the place went mad for about 45 minutes but we got there in the end. The food boxes were then left at the centre where they were later being collected and allocated out.
It was then a goodbye to the four lovely carers of Tangier Road with a nice bottle of Christmas wine for their hard work but the V3 day did not stop there!!! We were then back in the vans where the team were taken to their last destination, Strada.
Lunch you say? Yes but with a twist! We were met by Four Care Workers who look after the Young Carers centre in Portsmouth http://portsmouthcarers.org/. Again I hear you ask where is that which is exactly what we said. It is located on Orchard Road and caters for over 2000 of the 5000 carers in Portsmouth. The young section is where we wanted to focus; Young carers are children and young people of age 8-18 who are providing care and support to another family member. Many young carers take on roles and responsibilities that should not be expected of a person of their age. They may be caring for a parent, or, because of a parental disability, they may have taken on a parenting role towards their younger brothers and sisters. They can also suffer from isolation and bullying in school and many miss out on childhood experiences that most take for granted.
So we had twenty 8-12 year olds who had never been out to a restaurant in Gunwharf before and we spoilt them with a three course Christmas meal with as many Cokes and cakes as they could eat!!! It was amazing to see but very upsetting at the same time as you hear that this was the best Christmas treat that they had ever had!!!!
The meal was wrapped up around 4pm where we said our goodbyes and we then sat in the aftermath and reflected on what we had been involved in for the day. Many of us were speechless, many were crying and emotional but for all of us we were very grateful of the experience and want to do more of it. One of the Managers summed it up, I think the day reminded us all of the true meaning of Christmas!
Big thank you's too:
- Cllr Donna Jones
- Sarah Read
- Rebecca Hobbs
- Jane Steggall
- Calvin George
- Mike Vickers
- Steve Kitchman