Pride of Britain 2019 winner Dante is the star of a moving Christmas campaign video from Variety, the Children’s Charity, which aims to raise awareness of the urgent need for the public’s support.

A staggering 4.5 million children now live below the poverty line in the UK, while food bank use in the country has surged by 23 per cent in the last year. Families with disabled children are among the hardest hit, as raising a disabled child can cost an extra staggering £600 a month.

In the video, Dante, who was born with brittle bone disease and scoliosis, encourages viewers to donate to help other children receive the same level of support that he has. Filmed at one of Variety’s Great Day Out Christmas parties, held so that disabled and disadvantaged children don’t miss out on festive fun, the video highlights that a Variety Great Day Out Christmas present will be the only gift some of the children receive this year.

Last month the 11-year-old won the Child of Courage award at the star-studded Pride of Britain ceremony. Viewers saw him collect his trophy from TV judge and dancer Ashley Banjo, for helping to raise £30,000 for a Variety Sunshine Coach and for visiting other seriously ill and disabled children in hospital. The charity provided him with a bespoke wheelchair that has transformed his life and he became a Young Ambassador in 2018. He works tirelessly to find other children who can benefit from its support.

Dante said: “Christmas isn’t really about getting presents it’s about giving. I’ve had the best year ever and Variety has been a huge part of this incredible year. But there are so many more children in Britain who need the same help as I do, and for Variety to do that they need support from the public. Please click that donate button now, however much or however little you can give will help change the lives of more children this Christmas.”

Dante’s Mum Rachel added: “The Variety Christmas party is all about helping the children to get into the spirit of Christmas, it doesn’t matter what background they’re from or what disability they have, all children should be able to enjoy Christmas equally. Variety’s mission is to get every child, whether they have a disability or are from a disadvantaged area, the equipment and support that they need to make their lives easier and more comfortable.”

Thanks to the right support and equipment provided by the charity, Dante, who has suffered 92 broken bones, lives his life to the fullest. His motto is: “There are no disabilities only abilities.”

Sadly, not all children with mobility issues have access to the same vital assistance, which is why the work that Variety does is so important to be able to help more children like Dante.

Variety, which this year celebrates its 70th anniversary, exists to help reduce the impact of poverty on disabled children. During that time it has helped over one million children. It does this by providing much-needed equipment which helps to provide the same quality of life as for non-disabled children, but with disability and poverty on the rise, demand for their services is increasing and they are calling on the public for more help.

Recent figures show that there are now around 1.3 million disabled children and young adults in the UK, around 8% of under 18’s. Donations are desperately needed to help Variety change the lives of more children like Dante this Christmas.

During the heart-warming Christmas campaign video, Dante joined 200 children in Solihull for a few hours of festive fun. The Liverpool schoolboy led some festive carol singing with a rendition of Jingle

Bells before a surprise visit from Father Christmas, who ensured that every child received a gift, brought joy to the children’s faces.

Speaking afterwards Dante said: “I know what it’s like to be sick or in hospital over Christmas. I once broke both legs on Christmas Day. So I was really happy to attend Variety’s Great Day Out Christmas Party and do my bit to help spread some Christmas joy and cheer.”

Jo Carter, CEO of Variety, added: “We are immensely proud to have Dante as Variety Young Ambassador, he really is an inspiration to us all and strives to spread joy wherever he goes. In order to help more children like Dante funding is crucial, the important work that we do is only set to increase int 2020 so any support for Variety is truly invaluable for the young lives that we support.”

Thanks to sponsorship and hundreds of toys being donated by local businesses, each party come at no cost to the children, their families or their carers.

The work that Variety does for children across the UK is vital, but in order to help more children like Dante, Variety needs to raise more money. To help a child #BeMoreDante this Christmas go to www.variety.org.uk and donate.