Home-Start UK has an army of selfless volunteers who help families all year round – and in recognition of their support, John Lewis and Waitrose gave a festive makeover to the charity’s Hertfordshire community support centre.
A heartwarming video captured the reaction of a number of volunteers Anna, Henry and Maureen, and employees Di and Faith, as they discovered their offices had been transformed into a Santa’s grotto complete with polar bear.
They have helped hundreds of parents with mental health issues, bereavement, depression, isolation and money worries, to ensure their children get the very best start in life.
The makeover was part of the ‘Give A Little Love’ Christmas initiative, which is helping provide a magical Christmas to more than 160 families being supported by the charity.
Marija Rompani, director of ethics & sustainability at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Christmas is the most magical time of the year for many of us, but sadly not for all.
“Our initiative is just one small way we’re trying to offer support to those who need it most – but it won’t be anywhere near enough.
“We hope that this initiative and the celebration of these volunteers will help raise awareness and inspire others to act, as even the smallest donation could make a huge difference.”
The study also found nearly four in ten (38 per cent) adults said Christmas is their most favourite time of the year.
But planning the perfect Christmas can take a lot of preparation with adults spending an average of £547 on expenses – including gifts, decorations and food shopping.
And in an ideal world, adults would spend as much as two hours and 45 minutes doing their Christmas shopping for the big day.
When it comes to the all-important Christmas tree, a third of adults (33 per cent) prefer to have a real tree in their home, while nearly two in ten are looking to make more of an effort with their decorations.
But the study, carried out via OnePoll, found a quarter of those polled are feeling more pressure to deliver the perfect Christmas this year – with getting the perfect present, entertaining family and friends, and preparing the food as the main areas of concern.
Of those who are feeling the pressure, nearly four in ten said expectations for Christmas are higher than before due to the events of lockdown last year, while 26 per cent are out of pocket by the time it comes to festive season.
And 57 per cent admit they can do more to help families in need this Christmas.
Vivien Waterfield, deputy CEO of Home-Start UK, said: “For some families, Christmas can be an especially difficult time of year.
“With the rise in heating and living costs, many are facing tough choices between food and fuel.
“This can feel especially difficult during the festive season, when parents naturally want their children to experience a little Christmas magic.
“I’m delighted that more than 160 families will get to experience some Christmas magic this year thanks to this support, and make special memories together.”
In addition to this initiative, the John Lewis Partnership is donating £1m to help create more magical moments for families across the country – working with charity partners FareShare and Home-Start, as well as other local charities and community organisations.
Branch Partners in local stores will use the funding to support families in need in little ways to make their Christmas more magical – from donating a tree, to hosting a Christmas meal in-store, and donating gifts to local children and charitable networks.
More than £8 million has been generated since its ‘Give A Little Love’ initiative started during the pandemic last year.
For more information on how to donate, please visit here. www.johnlewis.com/content/give-a-little-love
Related: Disabled teen sent over 500 Xmas cards by strangers after mum put out request on Facebook