Meet the family spending Christmas in school spending the day with the children who live there

  • Report by ITV Wales journalist Issa Farfour

Christmas is about spending time with family and friends, but that's not always the case, and one family are making sure no one feels left out.

David Gillingham is a teacher at Headlands School in Penarth. Headlands is a special school providing day and residential care for children, some of whom will be there over Christmas.

Dave Gillingham is a teacher at Headlands in Penarth

Determined to make sure they have the best day possible, Dave and his family are spending the day with the children, as well as cooking up their own Christmas feast.

"I think it's important that young people - who are not as fortunate as me to have their families around them at this time of year - to make it as nice as possible for them," says David

"So having a lovely meal with the whole of the residential units all coming in I think is brilliant and it gives them a lovely special day"

Dave and Jacob preparing in the kitchen

Joe, David's son is a residential worker at Headlands and working in the houses on Christmas day.

Holly, his daughter is a casual residential worker at Headlands and helping with the dinners. Alex his other son is part of the catering team.

Lesley his wife, who worked for sixteen years at Headlands before moving to the fostering service, is volunteering at the school to help cook and serve the Christmas dinners.

The school has its own alpacas who live on site which the children love

The school is always looking at ways of helping nurture the children's mental health and last year introduced four alpacas to their grounds. The school said they had a big impact on their wellbeing, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.

On a day designed to share with others, David hopes his efforts have gone some way to giving the children a happy Christmas:

"Being in work on Christmas day to help young people have that sort of family feel that I had when I was a child is really important to me."

"It bring a bit of spark into the day. Otherwise, you'll be sat at home, having a little bit of turkey watching telly, doing the mundane things."

"I can come in with my family, watch young people's faces be really excited about the day and makes it special for them which I think is really really important."