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West Ham United Women's Team Players Surprise Families At Stratford Circus With Festive Visit

West Ham United Women's Team Players Surprise Families At Stratford Circus With Festive Visit

On Monday 16th December, two West Ham United's top women's players paid a visit to excited families at Stratford Circus Arts Centre, with the Club supporting the initiative for the third year running. Fresh from a 7-0 victory over Crystal Palace, goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse and defender Brooke Hendrix came along in support of the venue's Full Hearts Full Tummies campaign. The initiative raises money to make Christmas a magical one for families in difficult circumstances in Newham and Tower Hamlets who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford a seasonal treat.

In the year that the women's game hit front pages during the FIFA Women's World Cup and West Ham women reached the FA Cup final, the players joined the team from Stratford Circus to help serve hot food, play games and meet the families. Goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse joined the club in 2018 following a career at Arsenal, Doncaster Belles and Everton. US-born Brooke Hendrix played in Iceland and Italy before joining the Hammers last year.

Following several successful years, which saw local businesses, organisations and individuals generously participate in raising the necessary funds, Stratford Circus Arts Centre is aiming to raise £12,000 for 2019. Now in its fifth year, Full Hearts Full Tummies means families and children facing challenges can share a festive lunch after watching a special Christmas performance at the arts centre for just £1, ensuring tummies and imaginations are well fed.

Speaking about the visit, Anna Moorhouse said "It's been great to be here and it means a lot to be involved in schemes like this. As players, we have enough and, unfortunately, there are so many people that don't have much at all. It is so nice to be able to do something for them. You can see what it means to them to be able to come here and have a nice time. We've socialised, handed out presents, served food, had fun, and hopefully helped to create some lasting Christmas memories."

Speaking about Full Hearts Full Tummies, Stratford Circus Arts Centre's Director Tania Wilmer said "Full Hearts Full Tummies represents a coming together of all parts of the community here at Stratford Circus Arts Centre so we're really pleased to be welcoming West Ham players here for the third year running, especially at such a great moment for women's football. This year we're hosting more people than ever through the programme and meeting the players will have made the day extra special."

This year, the venue is offering tickets to the smash-hit children's show We're Going on a Bear Hunt (**** Time Out). Produced by London's celebrated Little Angel Theatre, the stage-adaptation of Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury's classic children's book arrives at Stratford Circus Arts Centre after captivating audiences across the country on its UK tour.

Last year, over 467 children and parents benefited from the scheme, and this year the arts centre is hoping to reach up to 600 local individuals in need by collaborating with children's centres, and local charities. For many children taking part, it will be their first experience of live performance, ensuring creative inspiration for their learning development as well as some magical Christmas memories.

The visit was part of the club's Players' Project campaign which sees members of the men and women's first-team squads supporting the local community. Last year, the players gave over 300 hours of community time, directly working with over 2,000 people from the local community. The Project, split into eleven strands, delivers over 30 programmes that span health, education, community initiatives and football development, which engage with up to 50,000 people per year.

West Ham United has committed to increase its commitment over the next two seasons and will invest a further £10m, an increase of £5m on its initial pledge, giving a forecasted investment of £28m by the end of 2021.

Last year, £1.3m was allocated for the benefit of Newham residents and this has directly supported approximately 12,000 people in the borough.

This year, Stratford Circus Arts Centre hopes to raise enough funds to reach 600 children and families and is collecting donations in person or online at https://stratford-circus.com/donations/

Local businesses wishing to offer donations, support in kind, or organise a fundraising event are asked to contact mia@stratford-circus.com




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