Hammers trio serve festive food to families
Mark Noble, Aaron Cresswell and Robert Snodgrass gave the gift of wonder at Stratford Circus Arts Centre’s Full Hearts Full Tummies scheme.
The West Ham United trio were on hand to meet and serve Christmas dinner to Newham-based families who might otherwise not have enjoyed all the trimmings this festive season.
With the Hammers’ home borough among the most deprived in the country, with more than a third of children growing up in poverty, Full Hearts Full Tummies provides hundreds of local families with an afternoon full of joy and imagination for just £1 each.
After watching the much-loved children’s film The Gruffalo, the parents and kids were served a delicious Christmas dinner by Noble, Cresswell and Snodgrass, with a little help from West Ham club mascots Bubbles the Bear and Hammerhead.
It’s sad to know so many kids might miss out on a Christmas dinner, so it’s nice to see them pulling crackers, buzzing and having a great time
“It’s great for us to come down and help out in the community,” said Cresswell, who is championing the fight against poverty alongside Noble as part of The Players’ Project. “Things like this are priceless for the kids.
“The stats are frightening with 70,000 kids who potentially won’t have Christmas dinners this year, so for us to come down and help out and serve the kids some food.
“It’s sad to know so many kids might miss out on a Christmas dinner, so it’s nice to see them pulling crackers, buzzing and having a great time.
“We want to try and help out in the local community, give back and tackle some real problems and this is certainly an area I want to try and help out in.”
Stratford Circus Director Tania Wilmer explained how Full Hearts Full Tummies runs every December at Stratford Circus Arts Centre, giving families an opportunity to come together, park their worries, socialise and share a joyous experience with their children.
“Stratford Circus is a performing arts centre which is fully committed to making great artistic experiences accessible to the local community and so Full Hearts Full Tummies is a programme available to local people and we offer families a one pound ticket to come and see our Christmas show The Gruffalo and with that they get a free hot meal as well,” she said.
“The idea is that this is a time of year that is very challenging for many families and we want to give them the opportunity to come together and have a special experience.
“We are in the business of feeding imaginations but when it’s cold like this, we know sustenance is important too, so we want to give them a hot meal too.
“This partnership with West Ham is really special to us and it adds extra sparkle to the event. We’ve got local heroes, particularly Mark Noble, and it means a lot to the families having people like the players involved and nurturing the local community.”
To make every festive season a magical one for the children and families of Newham, the Centre needs donations of £12,000 each year.