Friday, December 21, 2018

News: Apprentices turn Santa’s little helpers for kids’ Christmas appeal

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The AMRC Training Centre is putting smiles on children's faces this festive season with a special appeal to make sure those less fortunate have a present to open on Christmas Day.

The Rotherham-based training centre, part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), has spearheaded a local Christmas Gift Appeal by collecting unwrapped toys and gifts for babies, children and teenagers who might not otherwise receive a present.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP), the focus is on students aged from 16 upwards, taken on paid apprenticeships. Apprentices have opportunities to progress on to postgraduate courses, doctorates and MBA levels. Sponsoring companies range from global leaders such as Rolls-Royce and Tata Steel to local high-tech supply-chain companies.

Apprentices kick-started the kind-hearted campaign by delivering leaflets to homes on the Waverley estate, asking residents to lend their support to the appeal by donating new, unwrapped and boxed gifts for distribution by social workers to children's centres and those families most in need.

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The appeal was organised by "good deed fairy" Chloe Fairman, a teaching and learning mentor at the AMRC Training Centre, who says apprentices don't just learn how to be great engineers, they learn how to be good citizens with the skills and confidence to contribute to their workplace and wider community.

"We're teaching them that kindness matters just as much as your qualification," Chloe said. "The apprentices were out and about delivering our gift appeal leaflets and posters to our neighbouring estates and businesses. They will also be helping to deliver the gifts directly to social care so that they can experience first-hand how the presents will benefit the young people of Rotherham this Christmas."

Chloe decided to set up the appeal in 2017 having spent 14 years working in a pastoral role in education with some of Rotherham's poorest young people and their families.

"I understand the impact that Christmas can have on the mental health of a young person if things aren't quite right at home. There is such pressure to "fit in" as a young person today and this, in turn, puts pressure on parents who may not have the funds to do it.

"Christmas is a time that can amplify all the issues that poverty can bring, and if even one tiny gift can make one family smile, then we've done our job."

AMRC Training Centre website

Images: AMRC Training Centre

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