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Staff and students show they care this Christmas

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Published on 16 December 2021

Ryan Boyle on his graduation earlier this year with wife Erin and their youngest son, Gabriel (3)
Ryan Boyle on his graduation earlier this year with wife Erin and their youngest son, Gabriel (3)

Staff, students, graduates and friends of the University of Sunderland have come together this Christmas to raise over £11,000 to support some of the most vulnerable members of their university community.

The We Care at Christmas appeal was launched by the University’s We Care team and Development Office to support care experienced and estranged students at the University’s Sunderland and London campuses.

Sunderland staff, students, graduates and supporters have come together for these students over Christmas, and have raised £11,100 – smashing last year’s total of £10,000.

Sir David Bell, the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive said, “The We Care at Christmas appeal has touched the hearts of everyone in the University community, and well beyond too.

“I am enormously grateful to all those who have contributed to such a brilliant cause. As a result, many of our students and their families will enjoy a much better Christmas than might otherwise have been the case.”

The money raised this Christmas by private and public donations, including toys supplied by Mission Christmas, will support 177 students and 45 children.

For many of these students Christmas is a time they will spend alone, perhaps without a card, gift, festive meal or companionship. For those students with children, it is a particularly difficult time trying to provide for their children, while making Christmas special.

Now, thanks to the generosity of the University, 2021 will be a happy and memorable Christmas.

Sunderland graduate Ryan Boyle, 30, and his young family were supported by the We Care at Christmas appeal last year. Ryan, who went into care when he was 14 and ended up living on the streets, now has a young family of his own and works as a teacher for children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs (SEMH), and SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability).

Ryan said: “The kind people at the University of Sunderland, particularly the We Care Team, gave us all a reason to fight for a brighter future for ourselves and others.”

Georgiana Glavan, 27, is in the third year of her Business Management degree, at the University’s London campus. Her parents were divorced when she was a child and she lost contact with her father. When Georgiana decided to come to England to study she became estranged from her mother.

Now Georgiana has a young family of her own, son Eric (5) and daughter Eva (2).

Georgiana said: “Before Christmas I received a box with great presents inside. There was a bracelet for me with a Christmas card, a pack of colourful minicars for Eric and a musical xylophone for Eva.

“It was a huge relief for me as I no longer felt the pressure of buying presents for them.

“The We Care team have always been there for me when I felt alone, and have helped me with financial support, events and treats and now Christmas gifts for my children. I cannot express how grateful I am to them.”

If you would like to find out more about the appeal go to the We Care at Christmas Go Fund Me page.

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