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Christmas hampers bring festive cheer to care-leavers and estranged students at York

Posted on 4 December 2020

Christmas hampers packed with local produce and gifts will be given to care-leavers and estranged students at the University of York.

Chris Hoyle from the University's Widening Participation team with a Christmas hamper.

The project – now in its fourth year - will see more than 65 students being given the hampers to enjoy during the festive season.

Chris Hoyle, who came to the University having grown up in care, is now running the project as part of his work with the Widening Participation team at the University.


 Mr Hoyle said: “For people from care – or those who are estranged from their families – Christmas can often be a very difficult time.

 “We aim to show a little love and compassion by sharing these hampers with our students. Those who have received them have said how nice it is to have something to look forward to opening on Christmas Day. 

 “I am very proud of this project and constantly overwhelmed at the generosity of those who help raise the money to make it happen.”


 Care leavers are cited as one of five key priority groups by the Office for Students, yet the participation rate for care leavers in higher education is considerably lower than it is for other socio-economically disadvantaged students.

In 2019 the University unveiled a support package to provide free accommodation to students who have been in care for the duration of their course.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the University boosted its financial support for care-experienced and estranged graduates.

This year more than £6,000 was donated to the hamper fund with local business, Balloon Tree Farm helping to prepare the hampers. Donations came from all over the UK including the Islamic Art Circle, John Lewis, Nestle and the University. The hampers also include a gift card from York Bid, which enables the students to spend money with small local businesses.

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