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Colleagues and clients at Warwick Conferences are helping to make Christmas an extra special event for disadvantaged youngsters in Coventry.

Pictured with wrapped Christmas presents at Canley Community Centre are, from left to right, Emma Willis, Sarah Dietrich and Gail Tomlinson-Short, all from Warwick Conferences, and centre manager Anna-Marie Corbett.

Staff at the conference, meeting and events business at the University of Warwick are giving up their time to help Canley Community Centre wrap presents which have been donated for under-privileged children.

And rather than giving Christmas gifts to their own customers, Warwick Conferences are supporting IntoUniversity Coventry, a scheme which helps young people in disadvantaged areas of the city to progress into higher education.

Paul Bartlett, Head of Sales at Warwick Conferences, said:

At this time of year, we are normally out and about delivering thank-you gifts to our clients for their business over the last 12 months but instead we wanted to do something which would make an impact in our local community, and reduce our carbon footprint.

“The University of Warwick is a long-time supporter of Canley Community Centre and so we are strengthening that association by helping to wrap gifts, some of which have been donated by our team, for local under-privileged children.

IntoUniversity Coventry is partnered with the University and the support from Warwick Conferences will help cover the running costs of the centre, ensuring that as many pupils as possible will benefit from the programme and achieve their full potential.

“We are proud to be supporting both initiatives which make such a difference to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in our city.”

Canley Community Centre’s ‘Give A Gift To A Child’ campaign was first launched last year to provide a sack of presents to children who might not otherwise receive any.

Anna-Marie Corbett, manager of the centre in Prior Deram Walk, said:

We really appreciate the support from Warwick Conferences. It’s wonderful that they have offered to help with wrapping especially as we have been inundated with gifts this year.

“All the items donated are new or unused. When a child has nothing, they appreciate everything and we hope to be giving a sack of presents to about 80 children who have been referred to us this Christmas.”

IntoUniversity Coventry aims to address underachievement and social exclusion among young people by offering an integrated programme of out-of-school study, mentoring, aspirational coaching and personal support.

The centre, which opened in October 2018, aims to support nearly 2,000 students and help 75 per cent of them to gain a place in higher education in its first five years.

Rebecca Ward, centre lead at IntoUniversity Coventry, said:

I am so grateful to Warwick Conferences and the University of Warwick for their gift on behalf of their customers. It is wonderful that we have the support of businesses who are investing in the future of the children of Coventry.

“Every gift ensures that we can reach even more pupils who will benefit from our programme of academic support, workshops and mentoring. Thank you!”