The Christmas Dinner is a pop up group of twelve inspired professionals with over one hundred years experience of working with young people in care and care leavers. We are putting together The Christmas Dinner for forty five care leavers between sixteen and twenty five at a secret location in Manchester. In the run up to Christmas the pressure intensifies for care leavers. Since I announced The Christmas Dinner we’ve been inspired by your responses. Thankyou. This morning I was filming in manchester for our crowd funding page. It will be online next week. We are still a long way from our goal but with your support we walk confidently towards it. Today Louise Wallwein and I visited a possible venue for The Christmas Dinner. At the end of the guided tour we sat in a cafe with the Chief Executive. I saw a young woman sit down just out of ear shot. And I knew
The plug sockets were near her. I walked over “Excuse me” I said “do you mind if I plug my phone here”. She was involved in her tablet on facebook “no problem” she said. “You can put it on the chair if you like”. Her bag a was on the chair. I plugged it in. I just knew. “Are you a care leaver?” I said. Shocking pink hair. She stared hard at her tablet. Free wifi here. “How do you know” she said. “ I was in care. Dunno what it is. I just can”. Would she come on Christmas Day for The Christmas Dinner? Her eyes lifted. She rolled up her sleeves to hold back the tears. “but I’m not a care leaver” she said. It took me aback. I thought she said she was. I saw the tattoos on her forearms. She was fourteen years old. She had everything she owned in her rucksack. “I’m a runaway” she said and then burst into tears.