Appeal goes out for donations to give Christmas gifts to children in mental health wards over the festive period

An appeal has gone out for donations to allow children's and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) staff make Christmas special for youngsters spending the festive period in a ward.

Donations allow children and young people in CAMHS wards over Christmas some personalised festive cheer
Donations allow children and young people in CAMHS wards over Christmas some personalised festive cheer

Christmas at CAMHS is a registered charity which provides special Christmas gifts every year for children and young person who is an inpatient in a (CAMHS) wards across the UK over the Christmas holiday period.

A spokesman said: "We want to make children and young people who are inpatients over the festive season feel thought-about, special and included - our individual gifts for each young person to keep, as well as gifts for their ward, help us to do this.

"We have been hugely supported over the past few years by generous donations from the public and have received much gratitude as a result from inpatient units. However, we are only able to provide gifts with your charitable donations."

Christmas at CAMHS offers gifts to young people staying in mental health wards over the festive period

Christmas For CAMHS was originally set up because volunteers saw a huge disparity in the way CAMHS units were treated over the festive period compared to other NHS services for children and young people.

Children are admitted to CAMHS units to receive support and treatment for mental health issues, such as psychosis or depression or eating disorders like anorexia. There are no official figures for how many children will spend the festive season in CAMHS units across the UK, though often over 1500 gifts are given out.

While many members of the public and corporate donors give Christmas gifts to children’s hospitals or children’s wards in general hospitals, CAMHS units, which are usually based away from other services, are often forgotten, or not known about.

"Every year we talk to every CAMHS unit in the UK to see what gifts their young people would like," said the spokesman. "Then, with people's generous donations, we buy beautiful and thoughtful gifts for young people in almost every unit across the country.

"We also include, where possible, some small fidget toys, a gift for the ward like a board game or sports equipment, some activities to do during the festive period and extra gifts for particularly vulnerable young people who are looked after children or who have a refugee background. We also send them an advent calendar full of inspiring quotes and pictures of cute pets. Sometimes we’re able to include a homemade card or two as well.

"The gifts are assembled at a packing weekend in Bath by our volunteer elves and then whizzed around the country in plenty of time for Christmas.

"As a charitable organisation, we rely 100 per cent on fundraising and your generous donations. Each penny goes directly to making the magic happen."

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