This week, a new partnership has launched between Home-Start, FareShare, John Lewis and Waitrose, which aims to create an outpouring of kindness to help Britain’s struggling families this Christmas.
This festive season is sure to be one like no other. Parenthood is challenging enough in normal times but the current pandemic has added additional layers of anxiety, uncertainty and isolation.
Home-Start Barnet, Brent, Enfield and Harrow has been there for families when they’ve needed support most. As part of a network of 180 Home-Starts across the country, Home-Start Barnet, Brent, Enfield and Harrow has moved essential support services on-line to stay connected with families through their team of 150 volunteers.
Through remote working, staff and volunteers have stayed connected with families, providing emotional and practical support, and linking families into other community services such as their local foodbanks. During this time, we have seen social distancing and isolation placing enormous strain on families.
This exciting new campaign with the John Lewis Partnership aims to raise £5m for the work of Home-Start and FareShare through a nationwide effort to encourage communities and customers to embrace the Christmas spirit and give what they can.
Funds raised will enable Home-Start to support families in communities across the country through volunteer visits and emotional support, and FareShare to support essential food provision for families in low income households.
An additional £1m has been allocated to local John Lewis and Waitrose stores to work directly with local Home-Starts and FareShares to help families hit hardest by Covid-19.
Together, the partnership aims to support at least 100,000 families.
Peter Grigg, CEO, Home-Start UK said: “This powerful campaign will ensure Home-Start is there for families who need us most. We have seen first-hand how the pandemic is pushing families to the edge, especially those already facing significant challenges in their lives.
“Working with John Lewis Partnership colleagues, customers and communities, we can reach more families and communities at this vital time.
“We are so proud to partner in this exciting ambition to transform the lives of thousands of families and children this Christmas and beyond. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness shown in our communities during the pandemic. But there is so much more to do.”
Guljabeen Rahman, CEO, Home-Start Barnet, Brent, Enfield and Harrow said: “This has been a particularly challenging year for so many families we support across Barnet, Brent, Enfield and Harrow, who have experienced a further strain on their mental health, their finances and have endured social isolation at a time when they most needed help. Yet our volunteers, staff and supporters have gone above and beyond our expectations to offer relief to our families.
“From socially-distanced one-to-one support, delivering food and essentials, to remote activities for children to participate in via Zoom, everyone has played their part in ensuring that the most vulnerable in our communities are not left behind. To be able to now do this with the support of the John Lewis Partnership gives us hope that we can continue our work into the future, and make the holiday season feel like a light in what has been some very dark times for our families.”
Pippa Wicks, Executive Director of John Lewis & Partners, said: “In a year like no other, the world has changed – so we will be delivering a Christmas campaign like no other. During 2020 we’ve seen some inspiring and heart-warming acts of kindness throughout our country and our communities.”
“Now we want to build on this spirit to create a legacy that extends well beyond Christmas. Together we can all make a big difference to the families who need our help most.”
James Bailey, Executive Director of Waitrose & Partners, said: “This year has created even greater inequality in society with a catastrophic effect on some of the most vulnerable, and we are determined to play our part in addressing this.
“Everyone has a right to nourishment and a safe, warm home and we believe that as a Partnership, we can be an enduring force for good, which lasts well beyond Christmas.
“We don’t just want to talk about it, we want every customer, community and Partner to show their kindness in supporting these causes.”
Lindsay Boswell, Chief Executive at FareShare, added: “In what has been an incredibly tough year for so many, more people than ever are turning to local charities and community groups for support because they simply can’t afford the food they need to feed their families and themselves.
“At FareShare, the demand for food has more than doubled as a result of the pandemic so this partnership comes at such a crucial time. We are so delighted to partner with Waitrose and John Lewis to provide support for the thousands of people in need across the UK in the run up to Christmas and over the winter months.”