Costa Christmas Collections – Interview with the Boardwalk’s Kara Robertson

MarbellaAzul.com’s Roz James was delighted to have the opportunity to interview Kara Robertson from the Boardwalk in Marbella about the Costa Christmas Collections for 2016.

Kara is totally dedicated to her charity work. How she manages to fit everything in whilst running a successful restaurant and having a family life is a mystery. But thankfully, she does find the time with the help of her husband Gary Robertson, her sister Charlie and Sera Jane of Que-Será.

So Kara, Costa Christmas Collections?

“I do worry, because people are often suspicious about charities, wondering where all the money goes and if it gets to the right places. I keep meticulous records, but the Costa Christmas Collections is a little different. It is more personal, because we are asking people to choose a gift for a specific child (by age and sex) and then wrap it nicely for them instead of just putting money into a bucket. It then becomes real. People can then imagine what the child’s reaction to the gift might be when they open it excitedly on Christmas Day.”

“Christmas morning was always a little bitter sweet for me. My kids have so much and I am happy for them. But, what about all those other children who don’t have parents and are not as lucky as mine are! That’s why I started this collection.  I don’t have that feeling anymore. Now I know they will be having a fabulous Christmas morning as well.”

How many orphanages do you work with? And why can’t people see pictures of the children or know the names of the homes?

“We currently work directly with six orphanages. That’s why it is called the Costa Collection, not just Marbella Collection. It is very important to maintain the children’s anonymity. These are children who are protected by the state. We have to respect laws which are there for a very good reason.”

“I work very closely with two of the orphanages and we employ some of the older kids here at the Boardwalk. There are two here at the moment training as chefs. We have had a lot of problems getting the older kids employment. So, I have been working on this specifically for the last two years. One of the youngsters here at the moment has just visited his family for the first time. It was extremely emotional but now that he has a job, he will be able to see them more often. Would you believe it, he even brought me back a present! It’s amazing to watch them grow, get driving licences and accommodation.”

You obviously rely on the help of other businesses along the coast to support you with fundraising?

“Absolutely! Club Costa take a whole orphanage from us. And instead of doing secret Santa, they buy presents for all the chiildren. They have also generously donated raffle prizes, including a whole week in one of their resorts.”

Something new is being added this year. Will this be a regular event?

“Yes it will. We are holding a “Hollywood Night” on the 29th October and this will be an annual event, as we will be giving funds this year as well as gifts. The orphanages are struggling with funds. They need so many other things as well.”

What sort of age range are you concerned about this year?

“People tend to think of orphanages being full of small children and babies. There are actually very few babies. We do get a lot of presents for small children, which is great because we need them. But, we would like people to know that this year there are more 14 – 19 year olds. So, please think about providing presents for this age group as well. Please remember. age 4 and up. Not below 4.”

So, what sort of things do you want for the teenage age group?

“Electronics or anything you would like as a young adult. Designer base ball caps are not expensive – the same price as a doll. Scarves, hats or designer T-Shirts. Gadgets, books, DVDs, CDs, etc. But please remember, Spanish is the primary language. English books and DVDs are not suitable. They love superheros. Also, these kids spend a lot of time in the homes, so arts and crafts are OK. Anything that will hold their attention.”

“Last year, we supplied wide screen TVs and game consoles. So, if anyone wants to donate games, please message me on Facebook and I will be happy to provide the makes.” (Facebook link at the end of this post)

Tell us a little about the charity Amusvig?

“Because there is a need for this type of charity, it has grown rapidly. The charity helps to protect women and their children from domestic violence. We collect presents for them and distribute them at a party specially arranged for them. Last year, we were lucky enough to receive a number of sewing machines, which was great. So, some of the women can learn a trade to help them back into work.”

“At the moment, we are still working on a 24 hour help line for the women and children. They have been given a base for the help line by a bank. And the bank has now agreed to double the funds raised to help further. This charity has provided much needed support. The women can meet weekly knowing that they have ongoing support. Unfortunately, when women in this position tell people about the abuse, they can lose their family connections and feel very isolated. But, without this support, people wouldn’t come forward. This has become clear since the charity started and more people are coming forward now.”

So, when should people start using the drop off points for the presents?

“Right now! The earlier the better. There is so much to organize with collection and sorting. We officially close for the drop offs on 15th December.”

What do they have to do?

“It’s very simple! Buy a present (or presents), wrap them up and label them with an age the present is suitable for, the sex of the child and take it to a drop off point.”

Obviously, local businesses are very important to you for drop off points?

“They are! And they are so good. We have managed to get them all over the coast, so you will undoubtedly find one near you. We also have some schools helping this year. And many different businesses will be holding events to raise money. This also helps so much.”

“One last thing, please don’t drop off second hand gifts unless they are in perfect condition.”

Thank you for your time Kara and we look forward to seeing you at the Hollywood Night event at the Boardwalk – which sounds amazing.

Drop off points:

Schools – Benalmadena International College – Sunny View – Alhaurín

  • Mick Mahon Tatto, Benalmádena
  • IPIN Global, Los Boliches
  • Robs Barbers, Los Boliches
  • Bar Marie, La Cala Hills
  • Streets of London, La Cala
  • The Jammy Olive Cafe, Calahonda
  • The Playwright Restaurant, Elviria
  • Loft & Roomers, Marbella & Mijas
  • The Boardwalk Restaurant, Marbella
  • Becketts Restaurant, Marbella
  • Bardou Salon, Puerto Banús
  • Loulou Jan, Puerto Banús
  • Slainte Restaurant, Puerto Banús
  • Reflections, Centro Plaza Nueva Andalucia
  • Kids Kingdom, Estepona
  • Specsavers, Marbella

If you are able to donate a raffle prize for the Hollywood Night event, please contact Kara Tel. +34 672 575 644 or email. media@theboardwalkmarbella.com

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