Christmas was the word of the night as community groups pitched for funding at our second Soup Dragon’s Den event of the year.

There were emotive pitches to help isolated people enjoy a festive lunch; emphatic poetry to express how much a group loved reading and discussing books; and plans to creative a relaxing space and garden for communities.

There was even a little music and cheer as Brindle Players broke into character and sang their pitch.

All pitches were worthy of funding but it was the innocent faces of children waiting in anticipation for a Christmas Eve gift that captured everyone’s hearts.

Andrea Andrews from The Base and Joan Musker from Wade Hall Community Association pitched their Christmas Smiles project, with young Taylor showing how grateful he was to receive a gift package last year. They will receive £1,000 from our Community Investment Fund to deliver gifts on Christmas Eve to children to help ease the financial pressure on low income families.

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Andrew Andrews, Youth and Community Worker at The Base, which is run by our charity Key Unlocking Futures, said: “On behalf of the children and families we support, we are really grateful for everyone’s votes.

“Last year we delivered 582 Christmas Eve bags with new pyjamas, treats and a gift and the children had huge smiles on their faces. These families are struggling, especially with the huge burden the cost of living is creating. For a lot of these children, it would be the only gift they get, so we are grateful to be able to make a difference.”

Taylor, who received a Christmas Eve bag last year, said: “It made me very happy. Thank you.”

  • If you would like to donate new pyjamas, of all ages including teenagers, mens and womens, you can drop them off at Wade Hall Community Centre, Royal Avenue, 12.30pm to 8pm Monday to Wednesday, and Friday, and The Base, Bannister Drive, Leyland, Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm.

Well done to all the other groups, who gave equally compelling pitches and will receive funding of up to £200: Brindle Players; Reading Group (Brothers of Charity); Find a Friend for Christmas Dinner; Let’s Spend the Day Together; Gift of Hope (IHOPE); and Mediline Supported Living, a care agency based at one of our properties in Wigan.

Sam Beattie, Progress Involvement Officer, said: “We want to congratulate all groups and projects who delivered pitches. We are always amazed by the variety of projects and the commitment of the volunteers running them. 

“It was also lovely to see so many members of the community join us to support the projects, which is a testament to how much of an impact everyone is making.

“We wish Andrea and Joan at Christmas Smiles the best of luck in spreading joy this Christmas.

“We also want to thank Arjo, one of our contractors, who kindly paid for the delicious soup and crumble.”

If your group missed out this time, don’t worry as we are planning our next Soup Dragon’s Den event for May. Keep an eye out for more information in the spring. Applications will be open throughout April.


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