A Wilderness Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, our homes and head office are looking very festive and we are enjoying getting into the Christmas spirit.

However, although Christmas is a time of joy and celebration for many, the festive season is not easy for children who are looked after away from home. Whether it brings up bad memories or reminds children that they are not with their own family, Christmas is a bittersweet time for many of our children.

We are dedicated to ensuring that our children have the best Christmas they possibly can. For us, this means listening to what the children have experienced in the past, planning around their needs, and supporting them throughout the Christmas season with empathy and compassion.

We explore what Christmas means to each of our children and any good or bad memories that it holds, as well as their family traditions and cultural or religious beliefs. We provide extra emotional support for children who feel sad or have been let down at Christmas in the past, and who may find other people’s excitement difficult to deal with.

We plan Christmas in our homes entirely around each child, going above and beyond to make them feel loved, valued and special, and making memories with them which will last a lifetime.

Christmas is a time of ‘firsts’ for many of our children. It may be the first time they have had a turkey dinner or pulled a Christmas cracker, the first time they have made a snowman or decorated a Christmas tree. For us, this is always a magical experience to be a part of and is truly humbling.

“Often our children tell us that they’ve never had Christmas before and they don’t like Christmas. But when they see that Santa has brought them a stocking and left presents under the tree their faces light up, which is absolutely priceless” (Sharon, RSM)

Christmas can also be a challenging time for our care teams. As well as providing emotional support for our children at a difficult time for them, they use a huge amount of energy, skill and creativity to plan and pull off an extra special Christmas, often sacrificing spending Christmas with their own family. As this year comes to a close, we want to take the opportunity once again to recognise the dedication, resilience and compassion our carers show, day in, day out, which is truly transforming our children’s lives.

From all of us at AWW, we wish you a very merry Christmas and we look forward to what the new year brings.

If you would like to join our fabulous team next year would love to hear from you.  Please find our current vacancies here.

What Others Say About Us

I am truly taken aback by the level of care you have shown. The staff have gone out of their way to show him the attention and care that he has never had. When I visited him, it was like I was looking at a different child to what he was before he came. He was not like a child in care, he was like a child in a family. You have literally saved his life.

Social Worker

All children and young people thrive, and they make progress while living at the home. Because of the services provided the children and young people experience an individualised, stable and consistent home life. Children and young people benefit from the integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to education and care. They each achieve their full potential and, in many cases, do so beyond previous expectations.


I am so grateful to the AWW team for their dedication and commitment to caring and supporting Sam. He recently reported that being at there gave him the space to think and the opportunity to reflect on his attitude and make plans for his future.

Social Worker

I have to share my delight at Luke’s progress at AWW. Thanks to your support, in the last 17 weeks Luke and has turned his life around significantly. From where he has come from to where he is now, I am so proud of him.

Social Worker

The placement was really good and beneficial to me. The staff were all really supportive and nice and always made themselves available to me if I had any problems. The outdoor activities that were offered helped me to have a better outlook and showed me that I can do so much more in life, and it really helped me process and made me feel like a better person.


As METCO Officer for Cumbria Police I have regular contact with the team at AWW in relation to vulnerable children at risk of CSE and going missing. If a specific incident has occurred, the Home Manager and I speak on the phone to discuss the best way forward. She also attends CSE risk assessment meetings and we receive Philomena Protocol forms when a young person arrives in placement.

Cumbria Police