The Rotherham-based training centre, part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, 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.

Apprentices started the 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 that can be distributed by social workers to children’s centres and those families most in need.

Examples of gifts wanted were books, Lego, board games, selection boxes, baby dolls, make-up, hats and gloves, toiletries, DVDs, jigsaws, puzzles, sticker/colouring books, soft toys and stationery. The appeal was organised by Chloe Fairman, a teaching and learning mentor at the AMRC Training Centre.

“We’re teaching them that kindness matters just as much as your qualification,” said Chloe. “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.

“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.”

A drop off point for donations was set up in the AMRC Training Centre reception and the gifts have been delivered to Rotherham Social Care ready for distribution.