Home-Start to be part of Christmas campaign to help struggling families

A new partnership has been launched between Home-Start, FareShare, John Lewis and Waitrose which aims to create an outpouring of kindness to help Britain's struggling families this Christmas.

This festive season is sure to be one like no other. Parenthood is challenging enough in normal times but the current pandemic has added additional layers of anxiety, uncertainty and isolation.

Home-Starts across Greater Manchester have been there for families when they’ve needed support most. As part of a network of 180 Home-Starts across the country, the four Home-Starts in Greater Manchester have moved essential support services online to stay connected with families through their team of 500 volunteers - as well as providing emotional and practical support, and linking families into other community services such as their local foodbanks. 

One mum supported by Home-Start in Greater Manchester said: "I don't know where to start, you have changed mine and my kids’ lives so much for the better. You gave us a new life, you helped me when I was down, you picked me back up with having no family, not a friend. You gave me confidence, you made me a stronger person. You helped me smile again. You checked me and kids were ok all the time, I don't know where I'd be without Home-Start." 

This year, Home-Start has been chosen as one of two charity recipients of the John Lewis Christmas campaign. 

The new campaign with the John Lewis Partnership aims to raise £5 million for the work of Home-Start and FareShare, through a nationwide effort to encourage communities and customers to embrace the Christmas spirit and give what they can.

Funds raised will enable Home-Start to support families in communities across the country through volunteer visits and friendship, and FareShare to support essential food provision for families in low income households. An additional £1 million has been allocated to local John Lewis and Waitrose stores to work directly with local Home-Starts and FareShares to help families hit hardest by Covid-19.

Together, the partnership aims to support at least 100,000 families.

Peter Grigg, CEO of Home-Start UK, said: “This powerful campaign will ensure Home-Start is there for families who need us most. We have seen first-hand how the pandemic is pushing families to the edge, especially those already facing significant challenges in their lives. Working with John Lewis Partnership colleagues, customers and communities, we can reach more families and communities at this vital time.

"We are so proud to partner in this exciting ambition to transform the lives of thousands of families and children this Christmas and beyond. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness shown in our communities during the pandemic. But there is so much more to do.”

Kathryn Eckerlsley, speaking on behalf of Home-Start in Greater Manchester, said: "We are all thrilled about this partnership. Helping to raising the profile and awareness of Home-Starts and our volunteering opportunities to help local vulnerable families is welcomed. I’m even more excited about the John Lewis Christmas advert this year!”

Pippa Wicks, Executive Director of John Lewis & Partners, said: “In a year like no other, the world has changed - so we will be delivering a Christmas campaign like no other. During 2020 we’ve seen some inspiring and heartwarming acts of kindness throughout our country and our communities. Now we want to build on this spirit to create a legacy that extends well beyond Christmas. Together we can all make a big difference to the families who need our help most." 

James Bailey, Executive Director of Waitrose & Partners, commented: “This year has created even greater inequality in society with a catastrophic effect on some of the most vulnerable, and we are determined to play our part in addressing this. Everyone has a right to nourishment and a safe, warm home and we believe that as a Partnership, we can be an enduring force for good, which lasts well beyond Christmas.

“We don’t just want to talk about it, we want every customer, community and Partner to show their kindness in supporting these causes.”

Lindsay Boswell, chief executive at FareShare, added: "In what has been an incredibly tough year for so many, more people than ever are turning to local charities and community groups for support because they simply can’t afford the food they need to feed their families and themselves. At FareShare, the demand for food has more than doubled as a result of the pandemic so this partnership comes at such a crucial time.

"We are so delighted to partner with Waitrose and John Lewis to provide support for the thousands of people in need across the UK in the run up to Christmas and over the winter months." 

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