By Will Brook
A child poverty charity is calling on the public for donations to help make 1,000 children and babies’ Christmas a merry one.
Little Village, a London-based charity aimed at tackling poverty for children under the age of five, with sites in Southwark and Wandsworth, has seen demand for its service double this year due to the coronavirus.
The project, which provides needy children in the capital with items like clothes and toys, is pleading for members of the public to buy gift vouchers which will be sent to struggling families.
Lauren, a mother supported by Little Village, has a toddler son and a baby daughter. The family have had to shield for much of the year due to her son’s serious health problems related to his 26-week premature birth.
She said: “This year the anticipation of Christmas is completely different.
“Financially, I have come into a few troubles and I’m really not sure how I will be able to give them a Christmas I would like with toys and decorations everywhere.
“I know Christmas isn’t about gifts but it’s such a joy for me to see their little faces when they get a toy they like.
“I’ve been looking online at ways I can decorate using recycled bits and bobs and I’m going to use essentials for presents such as a pair of shoes my son needs and some bath wash in a funky bottle or something.
“I have made a meal plan and budget for myself so that I can save money and use what I save for a few small toys.”
Little Village research shows that 95,000 children under the age of five are living in absolute poverty in London, and around four in 10 of the families it supports are referred to them due to Covid-related unemployment or hardship.
Little Village founder and chief executive, Sophia Parker, said: “This has been a very hard year for everybody, but especially for families who are struggling financially.
“We usually accept hundreds of donated gifts at this time of year, but sadly Covid has put an end to that. That’s why we’ve set up this voucher appeal, so the children we normally give presents to don’t miss out.
“It would be incredible if every child is able to experience the pure joy of receiving a present they have always longed for, but we can only do that with your help.”
You can purchase a voucher from £5, and also include a message of support for the family that receives it, by clicking here.
Pictured top: Volunteer Charlie Knowles (Picture: Polly Braden)
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