Can you help to spread some Christmas cheer and donate a gift to a local child in need?
Home-Start Cambridgeshire, a charity supporting struggling families, is collecting gift donations at local beauty salon Pure Ely – and they’re hoping the whole community will get behind it.
Co-ordinator Charlotte Daleworth told Spotted in Ely: “Christmas can be a difficult time of the year for many families. It can be stressful.
“There’s the pressure that everyone has to have a wonderful time at Christmas but for some people that’s not a reality.”
Treetops soft play centre is donating its premises free of charge so that youngsters who have been supported by Home-Start for at least a year can enjoy a Christmas party.
Father Christmas will be handing out gifts – and that’s where Home-Start hopes the community will get involved.
“We are making an appeal for people to donate presents.
“It’s about spreading a bit of Christmas cheer for families who’ve found 2016 difficult.
“We want to put smiles on the faces of those children at Christmas.”
Last year Home-Start helped over 215 families across Cambridgeshire, many of whom had been referred to the charity though the health visitor, midwife, GP and social services. The charity also accepts self-referrals. To qualify for assistance, the family must have at least one child under five.
Charlotte said that people should not feel awkward asking for help.
“Parenting is really challenging and it can really test people. We don’t judge, we don’t give unwanted advice. We don’t means test either. We just offer a helping hand.”
The UK’s leading family support charity, Home-Start helps families deal with issues as diverse as isolation, postnatal illness, multiple births, disability and bereavement, providing practical and emotional assistance.
Supported by a small team of paid staff, volunteers are fully trained before going into families. They provide two hours of support each week for at least six months at a time.
“We’ve got volunteers who have been with us for years and years. Some people use it as a springboard to other careers.”
The charity, which helps about 20 families across East Cambridgeshire, needs more volunteers and will be running a new training programme after Christmas. The free course will run for four hours, once a week, over the space of 10 weeks.
“After that it’s two hours a week.”
On December 3, Pure Ely will be hosting an Elf workshop – an idea dreamed up by Angel Bailey, the eight-year-old daughter of salon director Cheryl Bailey – and staff are hoping that many people will donate Home-Start gifts on the day.
People can leave gift donations at Pure Ely at 4-8 Three Cups Walk, Ely by December 3. The gifts should ideally be new, unwrapped and for children aged five and under.
For more information about Home-Start Cambridgeshire click here.
For more about Pure Ely click here.