Birmingham charity partners with John Lewis

Leading family support charity to benefit from major partnership to help families in need.

The new partnership between Home-Start, FareShare, John Lewis and Waitrose 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-Starts across Birmingham have been there for families when they’ve needed support most. As part of a network of 180 Home-Starts across the country the six Home-Starts in Birmingham have moved essential support services on-line to stay connected with families through their team of almost 200 volunteers– staying connected with families, providing emotional and practical support, and linking families into other community services such as their local foodbanks. We have seen social distancing and isolation placing enormous strain on families.

One mum supported by Home-Start in Birmingham, said: “I just want to say thank you to Home-Start for helping me through a very difficult time of my life. I am really happy to tell you that my life is now back on track, I am working, I am happy, and my children are amazing. This would not have been possible without the package of support you gave me.”

This exciting new campaign with the John Lewis Partnership aims to raise £5 million 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 friendship, and FareShare to support essential food provision for families in low income households. An additional £1 million 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 the Covid-19.

Dawn Baker speaking on behalf of Home-Start in Birmingham said, “We are all thrilled about this partnership. Helping to raise the profile and awareness of Home-Starts and our volunteering opportunities to help local vulnerable families is welcomed. This is an incredible opportunity for us to be able to highlight the impact our volunteers have on families who are struggling to cope. I’m even more excited about the John Lewis Christmas advert this year!”

In addition to this, a young man from Cannock in Staffordshire, has shown the true spirit of the John Lewis/Waitrose Give a Little Love campaign by carrying out an act of kindness since the beginning of Lockdown. Sebbie Hall, aged 17, who has both physical and learning needs, has chosen Home-Start in Birmingham to be the recipient of act of kindness no 812. He met several members of staff from Home-Start at the Waitrose store in Solihull to hand over bags of clothes, coats and pyjamas (collected from his local community) to Home-Start so that they can give to children across Birmingham, children whose parents are struggling financially.

Ashleigh Hall, Sebbie’s mum, said: “Sebbie was delighted to be able to help families across Birmingham today, and he loved the fact that everyone from Home-Start and Waitrose were ‘kind like him’.”

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.”