Thursday, December 13, 2012

All they want for Christmas. . .

As many of you know my sister Siobhan set up Netmums a million years ago and has since then been helping to make the journey of motherhood a little easier for women all over the country.

Netmums also do a lot of charity work behind the scenes and one of the charities that Siobhan and I both have a great affiliation to are the wonderful Kids Company that is run by the fearless and larger than life figure of Camila Batmanghelidj.

Siobhan recently visited Camila at Kids Company and was shocked at what she saw. 

Camila Batmanghelidj
Camila and Siobhan at Kids Company

Here's what she had to say:

“I have been down to visit one of the Kids Company centres, where children from 4 upwards go, by themselves, before and after school and at weekends for food, company and advice.
They really don’t have anyone to look after them – their parents (usually just a mum) are unable to as they have issues like drink and/or drug addiction or mental illness.
I was shocked as I had assumed that in these cases social services would be involved but there are too many children and it seems if they are not being actually abused – “just” neglected, there aren’t enough resources. I was also shocked that Kids Company have to beg for money through charity to feed and cloth these children.
They try to give them a winter coat, pants and socks, and they can get a hot meal every day, but they need our help. Please do send a quid if you can – text KIDS GIFT to 70700 to make a £1 donation – I promise it will get straight to the kids who need it. And tell your friends. Thank you”
The stories that the children tell of what Christmas means to them are heartbreaking. Rose, 12 says -
'One Christmas, Dad completely destroyed our flat; chairs, plates, everything broken, even the unopened presents were trampled and smashed. I remember this bit because I had always wanted a whistle and I saw it through the wrapping paper all broken. We’re told Christmas should be about family and friends, happiness, love, good food, relaxing and presents. But to me it’s been alcohol, fighting and arguing. Kids Company Christmas brings me closer to my dream Christmas, a happy family, a lovely spread of food, no worries, people helping each other to cook, decorate and the feeling of being together”.
My heart just broke for that little girl. All she wanted was a whistle. Hearing stories like this stop you in your tracks and make you think about what Christmas is like for some less fortunate children, as opposed to your own. 
The good news is that with our help Rose and many, many others like her can be given a real Christmas. One to remember fondly, not with shame and sadness.
On Christmas day, children at Kids Company will enjoy hot food, individually wrapped presents, Santa’s Grotto, storytelling and games. Children can make hats and puppets, create a Christmas mural or join in fun activities such as football and a bouncy castle. Kids Company create all of this with the help of over 200 volunteers who work tirelessly to make a magical and unforgettable Christmas wonderland.
So how can you help give these most vulnerable of children the Christmas they deserve?
1. Join Netmums Merry Quidmas campaign by Texting KIDS GIFT to 70700 to make a £1 donation to help provide a gift for a vulnerable child.
2. Spread the word. Whether you tell your friends in person over a coffee, text them the number, share the message on Facebook, Tweet it or write your own post on it - every little action will help.
Surely they deserve that much for Christmas?
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