`Wishing tree’ returns for Christmas

Christmas shoppers in Dundee will be able to help provide a gift of reading for young carers in the city with the return of the `Wishing Tree’.

‘Waterstones Wishing Tree’, a collaboration between the retailer, the University of Dundee’s `Literary Dundee’ initiative, Leisure and Culture Dundee and Dundee City Council, is a special way for shoppers to gift a book to a young person in Dundee who has a caring role and/or is affected emotionally by a family member’s long-term illness, disability, mental health or addiction problems.

The project was started last Christmas and saw more than 100 gifts of books passed on to young people in the city. The project proved so popular that the gift tags on the tree had to be replenished several times over.

“The Wishing Tree was such a lovely project last year and we were overwhelmed with the generosity of Dundee shoppers and the volume of books received, so we are delighted to be able to do it again this year,” said Peggy Hughes, Manager of Literary Dundee.

This year’s tree was unveiled at Waterstones in Commercial Street by author Cathy Rentzenbrink, who was visiting Dundee for a Book Week Scotland event.

Gift tags on the tree will correspond to the interests of a young carer and all shoppers need to do is select a tag, buy a book and leave it with the staff at Waterstones to be wrapped and delivered for Christmas. The tree will be in situ and staff will be on hand to guide purchases until Tuesday 15th December.

Sarah Clark, Team Manager (Carers Support Services) at Dundee Carers Centre, said, “A lot of the young people don’t have many books so this is a welcome addition. The Wishing Tree helps us to encourage reading across the whole family, and we are really grateful for their support.”

Moira Foster, Education Support Officer with Dundee City Council, said, “On top of school work Young Carers have the added responsibility of looking after someone in their family.  Reading for enjoyment, even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, offers a wee bit respite in a busy life.  The gift of a book is a lovely way to say thank you for all their hard work.”

The Young Carers Project and UPBEET Project are part of Dundee Carers Centre.  The Young Carers Project supports those aged between 8 and 15 who provide a caring role for a family member. The service currently supports around 160 families. The UPBEET Project supports young adult carers aged 15-30 who provide care for a family member or friend.  The project currently supports around 100 young adult carers.  In addition many young adult carers are looking after their own children who have additional support needs.

A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a partner, child, family member or friend who could not manage without their help.  This could be due to age, disability, physical or mental illness or addiction.  Anyone can be a carer, and Dundee Carers Centre provides support to carers aged 8+.  Support is offered through one-to-one support, group work, outings and events, short breaks, Self-Directed Support (SDS), and Welfare Rights .

Literary Dundee is a University of Dundee-led initiative to promote interest in literature and its team work closely with members of the local community to enhance rates of reading and encourage more people young and old to discover or rediscover the joy of books.

For media enquiries contact:
Roddy Isles
Head of Corporate Communications
University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
Tel: +44 (0)1382 384910
Mobile: 07800 581902
Email: r.isles@dundee.ac.uk