‘Tis the season of goodwill and giving to others, and at WWT Washington Wetland Centre this sentiment is in full swing as over a hundred gifts will be collected and donated to local causes.
During ‘Elf Academy’, the wetland centre’s Christmas event, over 140 children and their parents are set to join in the festive fun and dive deep into training to become one of Santa’s fully-fledged elves, earning a coveted Elf Diploma.
As part of their training, elf recruits will enjoy a variety of activities including crafts, sing-alongs and a sweet treat to finish. It’s also a great opportunity to learn a valuable message about sharing the festive cheer by bringing in a toy or book to donate to a local charity. Recruits will then practise their gift wrapping skills especially for the occasion.
Head Elf and WWT Washington’s learning manager, Joanne Newbury said, ‘Christmas is an exciting time of year and through all of the enjoyment we like to encourage kindness, caring and compassion.
‘As a charity ourselves, we know how important the support from the local community can be, which is one of the reasons we reach out to families to donate a gift at Christmas as part of our Elf Academy experience.’
Joanne continued, ‘We give a very positive and uplifting message and encourage children to think about others at this time of year. What better way to show the essence of Christmas than to deliver toys and books to local children and families to help them celebrate the festive period.’
Joanne and her elf-helpers will deliver over 140 gifts to Wearside Women in Need in Washington and Sunderland, and Grace House in Sunderland which are destined for some very deserving children this Christmas.
Elf recruits will also be asked to make a wish and add it to a wishing line, which will be on display in the centre. All visitors over the festive period will be encouraged to add their hopes and wishes for the year ahead – wishes that relate to the environment, wildlife, nature, family, friends or loved ones.
Joanne added, ‘We’d like to thank all of the families who will be coming in over the coming weekends to take part in our event and embrace the spirit of the festive season with this small but very rewarding task. Without the support from our members and visitors we wouldn’t be able to support others.’