Christmas can be a difficult time for many people, but it’s especially challenging for young care leavers.

Loneliness, isolation and financial hardship can be experienced by young people leaving care all year round, but the festive season brings extra anxiety and pressure. Reminders of happy family get-togethers and “must-have” gifts are hard to deal with when their reality is a far cry from the perfect images created.

Give the Gift of Friendship this Christmas

For Christmas 2021, we’re launching our Care at Christmas campaign. We want to ensure vulnerable care leavers get the support they need to thrive this Christmas and beyond, and we need your help to make this possible.

Unlike most young people who can rely on family and friends long after their teens, care leavers are expected to be independent once they turn 18, often left to cope alone. In 2022, 10,000 young people will leave the care system. Without the right support, 1 in 4 will become homeless. In response to this, we created the mentoring programme Side by Side, which matches young care leavers with a local volunteer who will be there for them to provide advice and guidance – not just at Christmas, but all year round.

You can help a young person find that friend for life this Christmas by donating to our Care at Christmas appeal, ensuring they have a roof over their head, plans for the future, and guidance along the way.

“It’s not easy, and most of us – including myself – feel that we aren’t ready for this, but it was too late. Now I know from personal experience how easy it is to get in debt with your bills.” – Care Leaver

Get Involved and Stand Side by Side with Care Leavers

There are plenty of ways you can support a care leaver this Christmas:

1. Make a donation: As little as £5 could pay for a young care leaver like Samal to meet with their mentor over a cup of coffee.

Donate Here


2. Side by Side with Santa Challenge: Our Side by Side with Santa step challenge goes hand-in-hand with this year’s appeal!

We’re challenging you to walk 10,000 steps every day in December for the 10,000 young people who will leave care next year.

Find Out More and Sign Up


3. Festive Fundraising: We also have a number of festive fundraising ideas you can try, from donating in lieu of Christmas cards, to hosting a festive bake-off. Any time you can spare to support care leavers this Christmas will make a world of difference.

Explore Our Ideas


Keep up to date with Care at Christmas by signing up to our supporter newsletter, or following us on social media. If you’re unable to support our campaign financially this year, sharing our social posts would be a massive step to helping us support care leavers this Christmas and raising awareness of the help they need.