Carys and Mason from Coopers Carvery stand next to their gift tree.
Carys and Mason next to the gift tree.

Ely carvery collects gifts under Christmas tree for families in need

‘For the cost of a couple of beers I can do my bit,’ says regular

COOPER’S Carvery in Ely has set up a gift tree where customers can donate gifts to local families who are struggling to afford Christmas.

Response to the initiative has been so strong that people are coming in just to give a gift, says acting manager Mason Leach.

Carys Hâf Paul, who has worked at the Cowbridge Road West carvery since March, was keen to ensure that the pub was using its place in the community to help.

She suggested a tree where colleagues, customers and friends could leave gifts for families in need.

The carvery team will wrap gifts, then tag them with appropriate ages and genders to ensure they find a suitable home. They will deliver the gifts on Tuesday, December 20 to the Dusty Forge charity, which will distribute them.

Ms Paul says she was motivated by the thought of her children, ages one and four, waking up on Christmas Day without any gifts.

“My children will be getting second-hand gifts,” she said. “If it’s bad for me, I can’t imagine what it’s like for parents who have it worse.”

The gifts collected at Cooper’s Carvery will go the Dusty Forge on Tuesday, December 20, in time for Christmas.

Gift of giving

Cooper’s customer Claire Evans Smith says that she always donates to charity at Christmas.

“I donated to this particular one as it’s my local pub and the donations were for local children,” she said.

Damon Morgan has donated nine gifts over a number of visits, including two Nerf gun sets, a magic box and a doodle board tablet.

Donated gifts at Cooper’s Carvery include a scooter, magic box and more than one set of Frozen princess dolls.

“I’m not in a position where I have to buy gifts for young children in my family, but for the cost of a pint or two beers, I can bring a couple of gifts into the pub and do my small bit to ensure kids and young families in the local community don’t miss out.”

What do Marston’s say?

Cooper’s Carvery parent company Marston’s have taken note of the success. A spokesperson from the company said: “This is a great idea from the team at the Cooper’s Carvery and it demonstrates the brilliant work pubs do in their communities.

“Most of our pubs carry out different charitable projects across the year, and especially at Christmas.

The Cardiffian asked whether Marston’s would encourage similar schemes across the country.

“The managers and teams at the pubs are often best placed to choose the right initiative for their community but we always share the best ideas, so we are able to replicate them in the future,” it said.

The Cooper’s Carvery team hopes the gift tree can become a regular thing, with maybe an Easter version.