Manchester Airport staff donate £10,000 worth of presents for neighbouring communities

Colleagues at Manchester Airport have donated more than £10,000 of gifts to homeless people, care home residents and children from disadvantaged backgrounds following an appeal.

 The airport has pledged that no vulnerable person in its neighbouring communities should wake up on Christmas morning without a gift. The pledge met an overwhelming response from airport staff who donated more than 1,000 presents.

The donated gifts included books, jigsaws, plush toys, Lego and colouring sets. The airport then matched this with around 1,000 more gifts.

Managing Director Chris Woodroofe and other senior management from the airport volunteered their time to wrap the mountain of presents, which have since been distributed to around a dozen community centres, care homes, family charities and foodbanks over the past week.

Age UK Manchester’s Crossacres Day Centre received 75 of the gifts, which will be shared among their clients, many of whom rely on the centre for social interaction and support with day-to-day living.

Zoe Jones, the Centre Manager, said: “Many of our day care clients are isolated, so we are their only contact with the outside world. These gifts will go a long way to making those people feel loved and valued this Christmas and will put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces, so we are extremely grateful to the staff at Manchester Airport for their generosity.”

Also benefitting is Marion Lauder House, a care home in Wythenshawe. Lee Stringfellow, a Director at Careconcepts which runs Marion Lauder House, said: “We currently have 79 residents and many of them can actually see the planes taking off from their bedrooms. We cater for people suffering from varying types of dementia and other mental health conditions and we’re proud to have a really good reputation locally, for the support and care we give to the people in our care. 

 “The Christmas presents donated by staff at Manchester Airport will be greatly appreciated by the residents, some of whom don’t have any family or friends to support them so this support is invaluable to them and indeed our staff team.”

A number of the gifts were also distributed to Family Action, which operates five Children’s Centres in Wythenshawe, supporting hundreds of parents and children from pregnancy to 5 years through individual and group activities, aiming to give children the best start in life.

Julie Philbin, a Locality Manager for the charity, said: “The ongoing cost of living crisis creates financial pressures that make Christmas a real worry for some of the families we support. The incredibly generous donation of toys from Manchester Airport’s staff means we can make sure that parents will have a gift to give to their children this year.”

Wythenshawe Foodbank was another recipient of donated gifts. Tony Petrou, a Trustee, explained: “We have been working hard to help feed the people in the local community and have tried to make sure no child is forgotten at this time of year. We've been giving out advent calendars and selection boxes but thanks to this donation we have also managed to extend this and offer toys to parents. This has helped us take some stress away from parents and make sure Santa visits more children this year.”

The airport’s Community Engagement team organised the collection and distribution of the gifts and has also been involved in a number of other projects to support those living close to the airport in 2023. These have included an ‘Autumn Leaves’ lunch for people aged over 65 in the Woodhouse Park area, in an effort to combat social isolation in older age groups, and a ‘Little Book of Travel Tales’ to support children learning to read, which was shared with schools for free on World Book Day.

Manchester Airport Managing Director Chris Woodroofe said: “We have fantastic people working for us at Manchester Airport and I am extremely proud of our colleagues’ response to this appeal. It is hugely important that our neighbouring communities share in the benefits of having a major international hub on their doorstep – and that doesn’t just mean through ease of access to travel, or increased employment opportunities. We very much see ourselves as an integral part of this community and that means offering a helping hand to those who might need it – not just at Christmas, but throughout the year.”