Whatever you’re up to this Christmas, it’s likely you’ll have had some last minute preparations to make. Food bought? Check. Presents wrapped? Check. A home for you and your family to spend Christmas in? You’d be forgiven for assuming that last one went without saying.
But in fact, lack of a warm, clean and safe place to call home, not just at Christmas but all year round, is a far too frequent reality for tens of thousands of children and their families across the UK. Tackling this very real issue is not an easy task, but it is something Shelter, with the help of donations made via Pennies, is working to put right.
Take Angela. Angela’s marriage broke down following domestic violence, and upon finding out her ex-husband had stopped making mortgage payments on the house she lived in with their four children, her home was repossessed.
Angela was declared homeless by the council and told the only option was to stay in a B&B. Having initially moved her family in with a friend, she soon had no other option but to go back to the council who placed Angela and her four children – aged 14, 9, 7 and 4 at the time – in a B&B. They spent 18 months sharing a single room, as well as a communal kitchen and bathroom that Angela would get up at 05.30 every day to clean before her children used it, as it was left in such a bad state by the other tenants.
After contacting Shelter, Angela and her children were finally moved to a proper home in September this year and are so relieved that they will be in a stable home this Christmas, with their own Christmas tree.
Shelter is one of 10 charities that benefits from a percentage of donations made by customers at a number of Pennies retailers, and since the electronic charity box was launched just over three years ago, they have received nearly £30,000. This money, donated with just the press of a button, can be the difference between spending Christmas in a room in an emergency B&B and having a proper home in which to live, and is raised just a few pence at a time.