It is always difficult to learn of the distressing life situations some people are faced with. This is even tougher when it is young people who are suffering. Pennies has seen a large proportion of the £3.5 million raised to date supporting a range of children’s charities working with children and young people faced with challenges well beyond their years.

Charity starts at home

Home-Start UK is one of these charities, providing a lifeline for families who are finding it difficult, for whatever reason, to give their children the best start in life. They provide one-to-one support for parents struggling with everything from a lack of confidence, isolation or emotional distress, to poverty, disability and addiction, supporting over 30,000 families every year.

Fay with her Home-Start familySince November 2012, Monarch Airlines and Cosmos Holidays customers have been able to donate 50p via Pennies in support of The Monarch Foundation’s charities, including Home-Start.  Thanks to these donations Home-Start is able to improve the lives of people like Michael and his family.

Michael is a 56 year old grandfather raising his three granddaughters on his own because of their mum’s heroin and alcohol dependency. He didn’t want to see his granddaughters end up in the care system so stepped in to help. Although an ex-forces man, nothing prepared Michael for raising a teenager and two children under five on his own. Thankfully, Home-Start volunteer Fay was there to help.

Fay visits the family every week and has become a trusted confidante for Michael’s teenage granddaughter while helping the younger girls with writing, rea
ding and social skills. Being both a positive female role model and providing hands on support for Michael, Fay has been exactly the lifeline the family needed.  On average, it costs £1,200 to support a family for a year.

Helping young people cope with bereavement

Michael’s granddaughters aren’t the only children who could benefit from the funds raised by Monarch Airlines and Cosmos Holidays.  They also support BBC Children in Need via Pennies as do furniture retailer DFS.

With just £200 a week the charity can fund specialist counselling for children who have lost a parent to murder or suicide.  Isabel is one of those children and she was just three years old when her father died.  At the time, she was too young to comprehend what had happened.  But not long afterwards her grandmother passed away too, meaning two people she loved were instantly gone from her life.

Izzie and friend Bells for blog webThough Izzie seemed fine at the time, when she started having night terrors a few years later, her mother Liz was, of course, concerned.  She began searching for the right kind of help and found local bereavement support charity Nelson’s Journey, based in Norfolk.

Funded by BBC Children in Need, Child Bereavement Services Manager Debbie arranged valuable one-to-one support sessions for Izzie, followed by a trip to a therapeutic camp.  While Izzie spent two activity-filled days with other children who had also been bereaved, her mum went on the equivalent trip for adults.

After the experience, Liz was finally able to explain that most difficult of things to Izzie – that her father had taken his own life after battling with depression for some time.  It was just what both mother and daughter needed to move on.

Izzie and Michael’s stories are just a small portion of those made possible by the £1.5 million and counting generated to date for a range charities that work with children and young people, through many different businesses.

Home-Start UK photo credit: Jon Mann, 2010 (


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