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Ilford Recorder hosts celebration for Barnardo’s young carers following #IndigoChristmas appeal

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The Recorder’s Christmas appeal has been hailed a success after young carers and their families enjoyed a festive party and a visit from a red-suited friend on Sunday.

Guests enjoyed a spread – donated by Tesco – and got their thinking caps on in a Christmas quiz at the party, which was held at Visage 80s Bar, Cranbrook Road, Gants Hill, donated by Faces night club.

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting dressed up as Father Christmas and handed out gifts, prizes and goodie bags to the youngsters after the Ilford Business Improvement District (BID) donated generously to our appeal.

Donating raffle prizes were Waitrose, Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park, Kenneth More Theatre, Paradise Wildlife Park and James Bond star Daniel Craig, who gave away a signed photo.

Redbridge Rotary Club also donated £50 towards food costs and Occasions Cake Studio made a celebratory cake.

The party was held in support of the Barnardo’s Indigo Project, in Granville Road, Ilford, which supports 64 young people from Redbridge and their families, providing professional support and giving them the chance to go on trips to unwind and have fun.

Young carer Loretta Charles-Creegan, 14, from Ilford, who looks after her younger brothers and disabled mum, said: “The party was really good – it was fun. It’s brought the families closer together.”

Another youngster, Uma Baker-Bahl, 10, was also feeling the festive joy at the party.

“I feel like I’m on top of the world,” she said, after her team won the Christmas quiz.

Indigo service manager Jo Chaney said it was lovely to see the families out and having a “fantastic time”.

“It’s great to see them enjoying themselves because we know how difficult it is for them – they don’t always have the opportunities to spend time together and be recognised,” she said.

“The whole campaign has been really good for us and it has raised awareness of our young carers – it’s been fantastic.”

Mr Streeting wished the guests a merry Christmas before thanking those who made the day possible.

“It’s just a great initiative, to give people the chance to come together, have some time off and celebrate these young people – it has been really valuable,” he said.

© Archant Ltd 2013