Leeds butcher sets up campaign to get Christmas presents for kids

A Leeds butcher is asking people to donate presents for the children of those getting help for alcohol and drug misuse.

Malcolm Leary, who runs Malcolm Michaels Butchers in Kirkgate Market, is asking people to leave Christmas presents by his shop that will be given to the children of people being supported by Forward Leeds, the city’s alcohol and drug service.

Malcolm said: “It’s been a tough year for lots of people and I wanted to do something to help those who are trying to help themselves. Alcohol and drug problems can affect anyone. This year in particular we all know people who’ve been struggling mentally and who might be drinking more to cope. As a parent I know that Christmas can be tough financially. We just want to help those parents who are trying hard get themselves to a better place with a little extra something for their kids this Christmas.”

Forward Leeds has a Family Plus team that helps and supports clients and their families through their recovery journey from substance issues. As well as running groups and activities to enable families to spend positive time together, they work with children of clients directly to provide assistance and explore wellbeing.

Georgina Davis who is part of the Family Plus team at Forward Leeds said: “We are really grateful to Malcolm and his team. Normally we run a Santa’s Grotto for people to come and get small presents. With COVID we won’t be able to do that and we were concerned that children would miss out. Thanks to the work of Malcolm, his staff and the support of Kirkgate Market as a whole, a lot of children are going to have a much better Christmas than they would have expected”.

Steve Mason, Leeds Kirkgate Market Manager said: “This year has been difficult for all and Christmas can sometimes be an extra pressure for families.  We fully support Malcolm Michael’s initiative to collect Christmas gifts which can be distributed by Forward Leeds to families in need.”

There will be a giant Perspex box near to Malcolm Michaels Butchers in Kirkgate Market where people can donate unwrapped presents. These will then be collected up by Forward Leeds and delivered by their team to children across the city.

In addition, around the giant Christmas tree inside the market, there will be the opportunity for people to leave messages to reflect on their own positive choices around alcohol or drugs or to remember those that they may have lost.