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James from Ringwood’s Story - Saving Christmas

Updated: Aug 23, 2022

Food poverty in the UK is increasing. More children living in poverty and rising costs mean more and more families are under pressure. Christmas coming and the impact of lock-downs and restrictions just made these things worse and there was a very real sense of loss around the things that just would not be possible last Christmas.

Many, many Tables recognised this challenge and did amazing things to support their communities – as you can see we are picking out a few examples of the work that was done to demonstrate RTBI Clubs’ impact in this important area.

Ringwood Table were very aware of the struggles of individuals and families around them, they knew Sleigh would have to be different because of restrictions so they put their collective heads together and redesigned their plans in an effort to Save Christmas!

“We knew many children just wouldn’t get to see or visit Santa at all this Christmas and that seemed terrible. We just had to find a way to get the Sleigh out, but do it safely. It wouldn’t be the same as other years, but we believed we could definitely do it.”

“Various options were discussed but in the end we created something that worked brilliantly.

We couldn’t have children coming right up to the Sleigh but that didn’t mean they couldn’t see Santa, or catch a glimpse of his Elf helpers. We took lots of tips and inspiration from Winchester Table and we put out our route on FaceBook and used the Glimpse tracking app so families would know when we were coming close and could get the children to their windows, doorsteps or to the end of drives. But the question remained, what could we collect and how could we collect? The answer was food.

We could share information about Santa alongside safety instructions and food collection details. We would take anything but we also liaised with the local food bank for what was needed and gave examples and shopping lists for what would be ideal.”

We are quite a new Table and every Sleigh year has been special but this last year was extraordinary. It felt like everywhere we looked there were bags and bags of shopping. There are some very affluent areas near us and they were brilliant but it was just the same in poorer areas, everyone gave what they could and it was just so moving. Seeing everyone pulling together to help each other. In the end, we collected over 2.8 tonnes of food, the equivalent of around 2,500 meals. We completely filled our local food bank and then moved on to help others nearby. The Food Bank confirmed it was the biggest donation they had ever received and would make a massive difference to so many families in our community that Christmas.”

Serious Play!

"Doing Sleigh is completely brilliant” is the kind of quote I see and have heard repeatedly in this piece of research. It seems to combine some essential elements of the magic that make Round Table special in the community and support landscape, elements that should not be underestimated.

Humour and playfulness seem to be so rich within Table, deep camaraderie (caring for the welfare and wellbeing of each other) and wide spread care for community, and all the other people living and working around the Tablers.

Round Table (RTBI) is a young man / men's club for those aged between 18 and 45. RTBI supports charities, the local community and its individual members through friendship and brotherhood. As part of the Round Table Family, RTBI is an inclusive organisation open to all individuals no matter their age or gender identification. To find out more visit our FAQs page or Contact Us.



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