An organisation that has been set up to raise money so that no child has to go to school without a coat or decent shoes this winter.
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Many thanks to all who have supported us. As the schools identify and support their families I have asked for anonymous feedback on some of the impact they have witnessed first-hand. Here is a flavour: "This project has helped a family who have been experiencing domestic violence. Dad has just left the family and they have very little. Mum is so appreciative of your help and generous support and now her children can have some Christmas gifts. She hugged me and cried when I told her about the project, and asked me to say a HUGE THANK YOU. Christmas blessings to you all for making a huge difference and bringing joy to vulnerable families at Christmas." "One of our children came into school and told us that he would not be getting presents this Christmas because his mum and dad had money troubles. We contacted the family and to hear the relief in the mum’s voice, when she realised she’d be able to provide for her three children, was a humbling experience. We’ve bought lovely gifts for those children, and cannot thank you enough for your support which will be making such a huge difference to this family." "The generosity from the people and businesses of Warrington has enabled us to ensure that some of the children at our school have been part of our Christmas celebrations by allowing us to buy Christmas jumpers and put smiles on their faces! We are extremely grateful that we have been able to do something practical for these families, which without your support would not have been possible." "We are particularly grateful for the generosity of the people and businesses in Warrington this year. Although our family who benefitted live in a relatively affluent area of town, they live in extremely difficult circumstances and recognition of their difficulties are not always made and therefore the financial support is particularly valuable. Thank you for making a difference to the lives of so many people at this special time of year – it makes it special for those families receiving support as they can feel special too." Thank you to everyone who is supporting us and I can personally guarantee that schools are ensuring the right families are being supported and they are being supported in the right way. Merry Christmas Gary Gary Cunningham Headteacher Oakwood Avenue
The response has been brilliant and I am so grateful. Just to let you know where this started, I was in the Borough Arms talking to a few friends of mine who work at Schools. They were just telling me about kids coming into school freezing and soaking with no coats or as one was described ‘half a ripped cagoule that was as much use as a plastic bag’. Another child was kicking off in class repeatedly when he’d previously always been good. It turned out he hadn’t been fed for days and so lo and behold, the school get a breakfast down him (a few pieces of toast) and the poor kid is fine again. That same problem will be replicated across most of the schools that have identified children who need help. Only, yesterday a kid couldn’t walk because his shoes were too small and his mum genuinely couldn’t afford a new pair. The school have sorted this from what we’ve done. Lots of other teachers will say similar things but it struck a chord with me. The schools and staff always try their best to help out and importantly are very discrete with what they provide, but they are not social workers. There are lots of different and brilliant local initiatives that schools run to try and help, and if we can help just a few kids in our town then that would be amazing. Thanks again, Mark
In the past a small number of schools supported families from their school community. The impact for those families and especially the children was immense. Children were given coats, shoes and other clothing, plus families were given appropriate gifts they could then wrap so that their Christmas was that bit happier. Families were extremely grateful for the kind and discrete help and most importantly children had not only their basic needs met, but they had a Happy Christmas. The frustration was that not all schools were able to help and this then became the drive for Not in Warrington. The question asked was why not create a fund that schools can access to support their most vulnerable children? This fund is now set up and your kind generosity will make a difference to the lives of so many children in Warrington. Hardship unfortunately will persist, but through your help, ‘Not in Warrington.’
Dear all, In a few weeks’ time we will all have had our Christmas dinners and be well-fed. Our children (sons/daughters/nephews/nieces or grand-kids) will have opened up probably too many presents and stuffed themselves daft on the mountains of food we have bought to rightly celebrate a great time of year for families. Fantastic, that’s what Christmas is for. In the run up to Christmas and into the New Year when the temperatures have dropped and the weather turns awful – we make sure our kids will be warm and dry as they go out of the house to school. Thankfully our kids are lucky. However, even in Warrington which is a reasonably affluent town not all children are that lucky. Some kids don’t have warm winter coats or shoes that keep them dry when it’s freezing and wet on a dark morning. Some kids won’t get spoiled rotten at Christmas, in fact they’ll get nothing. I’d like those of us who are more fortunate and can do something about it to say – NOT IN WARRINGTON. Let’s try and make it so that no child in Warrington will go to school this winter with no decent coat or shoes. No child we become aware of will be without a Christmas present of some sort. Whatever the reason it is never the kid’s fault. I’ve asked my friends in the Warrington Primary School system to help us identify those kids and families that need a bit of help – these schools know these things, they see it every day. Across 20 primary schools in Warrington we’ve identified 157 children who need help. Having talked to the schools we believe that a maximum of £50 per child will make a huge difference to their warmth this winter and their Christmas. Let give as much as we can please. How can you help ? What we need is not only your donations but also your contacts….every £50 makes these children’s winter and Christmas better. If you would like to donate something then you can do it in one of 3 ways ; Send a cheque payable to Oakwood Avenue Primary School, Oakwood Avenue, Warrington, WA1 3SZ who will use their audit and accounts function to collect, distribute to other schools and audit the monies received. Please mark the envelope or letter NOT IN WARRINGTON. Send a payment to Oakwood Avenue Primary School, sort code 09-01-55 a/c number 29775700. Mark payment NOT IN W’TON. The way it will work is that each school involved will in the next week buy the clothes, shoes or presents that their identified children need immediately and will provide an invoice for what they spend. The individual schools will then be reimbursed from what we raise. Please spread the word. It would be great if we could make our Town a special place for those children who need a little bit of help. Kind Regards, Mark Brown