A brighter Christmas for 120 Thanet families thanks to huge ‘Tim’s Gift’ fundraiser support

Hartsdown volunteers busy wrapping gifts last year

The last of 120 Christmas hampers are being delivered to Thanet families in need today (December 19) following the amazing support of a fundraising bid by Hartsdown Academy head teacher Matt Tate.

Mr Tate launched his Tim’s Gift campaign this month with the aim of raising £1,000 to buy food and festive treats for families who are struggling below the breadline.

But amazing support from Thanet residents, businesses, organisations and people across the country helped the appeal bust through its initial target in just 24 hours.

The final total was more than £5,000, providing enough cash for the 120 hampers. There were also donations including 100 £25 clothes vouchers from Global Generation Church, hand-knitted jumpers sent from Devon, presents, chocolate Santas and more.

The hampers have been distributed via primary schools including Cliftonville, Garlinge and Drapers Mills and through contacts from the Salvation Army.

The appeal came after Mr Tate spoke on LBC radio about the crushing poverty faced by many of his students and the efforts of staff to alleviate some of the problems.

He told radio presenter James O’Brien: “We wash children’s clothes, we feed kids breakfast, we take kids into hospital when we need to, we fight with social services, the police, other things when we need to. I’m not criticising those services, they’re as stretched as we are.

“Our view and my view is that education is a huge part of what we do, obviously, but actually, we have a responsibility to do the best for our kids.”

Some 20 school staff have volunteered their time to help with wrapping and delivery and Mr Tate has drafted in family help, including that of five-year-old daughter Ruby.

The dad-of-seven said: “We have been helped by lots of people with support from Heart FM, Gadds (food and drink),Global Generation Church and so many people in Thanet and nationwide donating to the justgiving appeal. There has been such generosity from staff, students and families and the wider public and donations from across the country including hand-knitted jumper sent from Devon.

“It really seems to have sparked people’s imaginations and there has been a phenomenal response and messages and emails of support for what the school is doing.”

Hamper wrapping volunteers at Hartsdown

Hampers including basic tinned and dried foods, cakes, sweets, gifts for children, the clothing vouchers and a £40 Tesco gift card for shopping.

Mr Tate said: “The voucher is to give people choice. Rather than us going out and buying £40 worth of food this lets people choose what they want to buy.”

And, after a two week school break, Mr Tate collecting for an even bigger campaign next year.

He said: “We will be starting again in January and want to help 200 families next year with support from all our local primaries. We are asking for people to send us any unwanted gifts so we can put them away for next Christmas.”


  1. I am very impressed with the hard work and dedication of all the kind and generous people involved. I fear we are going to need a lot more charitable works in the next few years.

  2. This is so heartwarming knowing there are still people willing to give for a brighter christmas for those less fortunate than themselves. It’s good to know there are caring people and organisations out there helping. Foodbanks and charities will be doing all they can to help out this christmas also.

    Anyone who is finding it tight can pop over for a christmas dinner and enjoy the company of others at Cliftonville community centre where they will be made welcome.

  3. Boris is abroad somewhere feeding soldiers.
    Maybe he and Craig Mackinlay could pop down to Thanet and see what life’s like for many people at home.

  4. Incidentally, Craig Mackinlay increased his majority at the recent election. Says all you need to know about what a horrible lot the people of Thanet are. You don’t have to be that keen on Jeremy Corbyn to be a decent human being. We have become precisely what Margaret Thatcher intended, look after number one and sod the rest. Things won’t get a lot better for most of us under Boris, he will drive a coach and horses through parliament,there’ll be legislation to deal with anything that doesn’t fit his vision. Well done to all those at Hartsdown School and elsewhere to all who do care and I hope you have a happy Christmas.

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