Christmas feel good story

In 2013 a teenager collected hundreds of supermarket vouchers to buy £600 worth of shopping for 4p so he could give the food to families:

Jordon Cox, 16, scoured endless websites and magazines and gathered hundreds of coupons for dozens of products.  After spending hours each day searching the internet for coupons, he managed to collect 470, which he took to his local supermarket, and filled three trolleys with food and household items.  The bill came to £572.16, but once the coupons were factored in the bill was reduced to just 4p – a saving of 99.81 per cent.  The teenager, of Brentwood in Essex, donated all his food to the charity Doorstep which gives food to disadvantaged families.

He said:

“I read an article that said a thousandth of the UK population are unable to eat this Christmas because they don’t have any money.  I decided wanted to help as many people as I can, and to also show that it’s possible to shop very cheaply, if you know how.  It’s not an exact science, so you can never really work out ahead of time how much the total is going to be. I was stunned when it came up as just 4p.”

He started his Christmas shopping project on December 1 and scoured hundreds of in-store magazines and websites for money off and cash back coupons.  His shop, at Tesco Brent Cross, ended with an hour stop at the checkout to unload his items which included 200 packets of biscuits and 60 packs of butter.

He said:

“The lady at the checkout had worked at Tesco for 19 years, and she said she’d never seen anything like it before. I had a big crowd. I felt like a celebrity.  My heart was pounding and the adrenaline was pumping when we got to the till. So much could have gone wrong.  I could have left some coupons at home, or not read the terms and conditions properly. Some of them might have expired too.”

Vicky Fox, who works at Doorstep, said families who he had helped out were overwhelmed by the donation. She said:

“I’d call his gift a great and generous act of a young man and what he did made a real difference.  He’s made a really difference to families who work with us to survive on extremely low incomes and do need the help.  He made such a different to people living on the breadline.”

He bought:

  • 20 packs of frozen Yorkshire puddings
  • 20 jam roly polys
  • 80 packs of butter
  • 23 packs of Quorn mince
  • Four Gressingham poussin.
  • 40 black puddings
  • 200 packets of biscuits
  • 23 blocks of hard cheese
  • 20 pots of Yeo Valley organic yoghurt
  • 19 bottles of fruit juice.
  • 10 boxes of Paxo stuffing
  • 40 bottles of Anchor whipped cream
  • 15 bags of frozen Brussels sprouts
  • 4 packs of After Eight mints
  • 15 Covent Garden Soups.
  • 10 bags of Florette Salad
  • 36 packs of Cauldron tofu, vegetarian sausages and falafel
  • Crumble mix
  • Haribo sweets

Community Christmas Meals

Communities are being encouraged to provide companionship to older people on Christmas Day by running a community Christmas Lunch event, joining up with others at a local pub or restaurant, popping round for tea and cake, perhaps organizing a film viewing or anything else that can be enjoyed by all those that take part. This should be a chance to meet up with old friends and make new friends creating bonds in the community that last well beyond the single day.

If you have elderly or older clients or anyone needing somewhere to go for a Christmas Meal they can put their post code into this website and it will bring up all the options in their area. Some even include transport!

If you cannot find your area, keep checking as the site is being updated regularly. And of course if you know of a scheme that isn’t already on the site this is a great place to add it .

Community Christmas Meals

Communities are encouraged to provide companionship to older people on Christmas Day by running a community Christmas Lunch event, joining up with others at a local pub or restaurant, popping round for tea and cake, perhaps organizing a film viewing or anything else that can be enjoyed by all those that take part. This should be a chance to meet up with old friends and make new friends creating bonds in the community that last well beyond the single day.

If you have elderly or older clients or anyone needing somewhere to go for a Christmas Meal they can put their post code into this website and it will bring up all the options in their area. Some even include transport!

If you cannot find your area, keep checking as the site is being updated regularly. And of course if you know of a scheme that isn’t already on the site this is a great place to add it .

‘Breakfast in a bag’ is a brilliant new simple initiative to support the homeless

A small gesture is all it takes to make a huge difference to the thousands of people sleeping rough everyday.  And that’s why one woman is asking you to donate just £3 so that a homeless person won’t go hungry tomorrow.

In a new initiative called ‘Breakfast in a Bag’, Michelle Clark, from Enfield, is handing out free, healthy breakfasts to London’s homeless.

Michelle told Metro.co.uk:

It dawned on me earlier this year that despite there being several soup kitchens feeding London’s homeless in the evenings, no one was providing breakfasts.

breakfast-in-a-bag-1For just £3, a homeless person will receive cereal or porridge, milk, fresh fruit, a cereal bar or similar, fruit juice and biscuits, together with disposable cutlery and a bowl.

According to figures released by Combined Homelessness Information Network (CHAIN), over 7,500 people slept on London’s streets in 2015.  This was a dramatic rise from the 3,673 in 2009/2010.

The simple but effective idea was started by Michelle earlier this month, but she’s actually been supporting the homeless and dogs living on the streets in London since 2010 with Off The Streets London.

She added:

‘I’ve helped several homeless people find permanent housing and I still keep in touch with most of them today.  I consider them to be my friends.’

The project is currently being funded by public donations with additional support from food manufacturers and supermarkets.

breakfast-in-a-bag

At the moment, Michelle delivers most of the bags direct to the homeless herself but she does have a small team of volunteers who help host the popular Breakfast In A Bag ‘Brekkie Stations’ on Friday nights.

The projects has already got huge support on social media, where @breakfastinabag has more than 2,900 followers.  Amongst its supporters are comedians Al Murray and Reginald D Hunter, Ian Danter from national radio, actress Linda Robson, Labour MP Jess Phillips and BBC’s Nick Knowles.

Michelle said:

‘We rely heavily on donations, every pound buys a pot of porridge for someone or a couple of energy bars.

‘Quite simply the more donations we receive, however small, the more breakfasts I can hand over.

‘People are realising that by donating just £3 to us they’re buying a homeless person a healthy breakfast, all for the same price as a coffee and for much less than a pint!’

If you’d like to donate to Breakfast in a Bag, email: breakfastinabag@gmail.com.

Fight for Justice over the Olympics

The It’s a Penalty campaign harnesses the power of sport to protect children from exploitation and abuse around the world, and at major global sporting events.

Throughout the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, It’s a Penalty reached over 300 million people globally. There were 11,252 calls to the Brazilian national crisis line reporting child exploitation.

For the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games, they’re striving to do the same.

It’s a Penalty Informs, Equips, Educates, Spreads Awareness and Communicates about how to make a difference in the global community to protect these children.

Together we can put an end to it.

The campaign to send Christmas cards to ‘Britain’s loneliest schoolboy’

Christmas_card_campaign_Skerries_schoolboy

10-year-old Aron Anderson, who lives on the tiny island of Out Skerries hundreds of miles off the coast of Scotland, is literally the only pupil at his school. He gets taught in a two-room building, he has one teacher, and according to the Telegraph his closest friends on the island are ducks, sheep and his dog. The island’s population is 70.

Now, in the wake of his story being widely shared across Britain in the last couple of weeks, an online campaign has been started to send Aron Christmas cards.

Christmas_card_campaign

The campaign was started by Reddit moderator BesottedScot, and it’s been receiving a lot of attention on the United Kingdom and Scotland subreddits.  They wrote in the campaign description:

“I phoned his school last week to let them know that I was planning this, and that I recommended his parent(s) and/or his teacher helps him to open the cards.  I really want him to get a big massive smile on his face, so please, write a wee message in the card to show your support too!  We have 20,000 subscribers on here and if even 1% of you send a card that’s 200 cards to a lonely boy to cheer his Christmas right up. I hope you’ll do me proud and send some nice festive cheer.”

Christmas_card_campaign_comments

Apparently people have been sharing it on Facebook, and it looks as though word has already travelled across the Atlantic to the U.S.

Aron’s mother Denise was reported as saying:

“This is going to be his first winter as the only pupil so it’s hard to tell how it will be for him.  I do feel sorry for Aron being all by himself at school — but he really is happy. Spending a lot of time with adults has made him quite grown-up, but he does enjoy trips to the mainland to meet other children.”

Well Aron might not have many people to talk to on his island, but — if the Christmas card campaign is a success — he’ll soon discover that there are lots of people around the world who want to talk to him.

Footballers tell squatters to stay in their Manchester hotel for the winter

Manchester Stock Exchange

A group of squatters and homeless activists that took over a huge hotel undergoing renovation have been told they’re allowed to stay for the winter – by the hotel’s owners.

Manchester Angels gained access to the building, which is due to open as a luxury boutique hotel, on Sunday. The group assumed they’d be swiftly moved on, but were told by former Manchester United captain Gary Neville, one of the properties owners along with Manchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs, they could stay.

Now the Grade II-listed former stock exchange on central Manchester’s Norfolk Street will become a home and welcoming hub for many of the city’s homeless.

Housing activist Wesley Hall, 33, said he broke down and cried after Neville told him the group could stay for a few months. “I’m crying,” he wrote on the group’s Facebook page. “Just go off the phone to Gary Neville. He’s letting us stay for a few months over the winter period and he’s gonna help us with intervention. I’m shaking here.”

Manchester Angels 1

The imposing former stock exchange was bought by Neville and Giggs two years ago for £1.5 million ($2.3 million). The pair gained permission to turn it into a 35-bed hotel complete with basement gym, spa, bar, restaurant and even a rooftop private members’ terrace.

Before that, though, it will be a sanctuary for homeless people. It’s been renamed the Sock Exchange and will provide somewhere to sleep, hot food, clothing, health checkups, advice on benefits and help with securing long term accommodation. There’s a hashtag, #OpSafeWinter, to coordinate the work. The group say they’re “in talks with a household name chef” to help with a Christmas meal.

“We are going to do everything properly,” Hall said of the project.

“We have already drawn up rotas for cooking, cleaning and staffing the gate. Everyone will be able to have their own room and each person will be able to lock their bedroom door.”

“We were expecting that as soon as Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville found out that we had occupied the building, they would try to get us evicted and that we would have to look for another building. Having a few months during the winter to work with homeless people without the threat of eviction hanging over our heads is brilliant.”

According to Hall, Neville just asked that the temporary residents allow surveyors to access the building as work continues on its renovation. Hall said he has promised to leave the building in as good a state as he found it, if not better.

Be an action/2015 youth panellist!

action-2015_SETS

Y Care International are asking young people to get involved in action/2015:

Young people need to lead this campaign as they are essential to demanding, implementing and achieving ambitious targets for positive change and more just world. To ensure this happens, we are bringing together committed young volunteers and activists from the UK to lead action/2015’s youth activities in the UK as a part of the action/2015 Youth Panel.

The youth panel will be made up of 18-25 year olds from across the UK who will act as both an advisory panel to those working on the campaign and as advocates of action/2015 itself.

If you are 18-25 and have a passion for global issues then we invite you to join the action/2015 youth panel.

For the action/2015 Youth Panel we are looking for:

  • 18-25 year olds
  • Passion, motivation and an understanding of issues related to ending poverty, inequalities or climate change. We don’t expect experts., but a commitment to furthering knowledge on global issues.
  • Self-assurance and great organisational/ communication skills
  • Availability to meet throughout the year: Attend one 2 hour meeting a month (online and face to face) to dedicate 3 hours a week to action/2015, coordinate and lead your own youth action/2015 activities.
  • Willingness to travel throughout the UK – support for travel costs will be provided

We will be holding Youth Panel training to get panellists up to speed on all the issues of action/2015 on Saturday February 7th – successful applicants will be required to attend this training so keep this date free if planning to apply.

To apply, download our information document and application form.  Please return your completed application form to robbie.cheyne@ycareinternational.org by Monday 26th January 2014 at 10am.

The action/2015 Youth Panel will be made up of 18-25 year old representatives from over a dozen UK charities and so to ensure fair representation, spaces are very limited.

The World’s 85 Richest People Have as Much Money as the World’s Poorest 3.5 Billion

India - Agricultural Scale Up - Samarpan

You could read that headline every day for the rest of your life, and it’d probably never fully sink in.

Here are some truly staggering numbers from Oxfam, who released a study on the world’s income disparity that is absolutely eye-popping.  Just a run down of the bullet points is incredible:

  • Nearly 50 percent of the world’s wealth is owned by one percent of the world’s population.
  • The richest one percent of people in the world are worth about $110 trillion—65 times the sum total of wealth owned by the world’s poorest fifty percent.
  • 7 in 10 people live in countries where income equality has decreased over the past thirty years.
  • The total wealth of the world’s poorest 3.5 billion equals the wealth of the richest 85 individuals.

Reddit Grants Cancer Patient’s Wish for Pizza

Lauren Hammersley’s 2-year-old daughter Hazel was diagnosed in April with Stage 3 neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer. One day, in the hospital, Hammersley taped a message to her daughter’s window: “SEND PIZZA RM 4112.”

Send Pizza

The message went viral, when Redditor ashortstorylong posted a photo of Hazel’s hospital window sign on Reddit. The photo quickly shot to No. 1 on the homepage, where the story took a feel-good twist. Dozens of Redditors ordered pizzas for delivery to the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, where Hazel is being treated.

Hazel - pizza

“Hazel woke up from her nap to the smell of pizza and was so excited to chow down!” Lauren wrote on her blog. “Several other children and nurses came into the room, with music playing, and had themselves a wonderful Pizza Party. As of yesterday evening, there was more than 20 boxes delivered and more was coming!”

The flow of deliveries — more than 20 pizzas in total — overwhelmed the hospital staff.

“If you’re on Reddit and have seen the adorable photo below, please help Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and patient mom, Lauren Hammersley spread the word: You’ve made a little girl very happy but NO MORE PIZZA IS NEEDED,” hospital staff wrote on their blog.

hazel-3

The Hammersley family shared the pizzas with other families in the hospital, as well as with their team of doctors and nurses.

Instead of ordering pizzas, Lauren Hammersley asks others to consider donating to Hazel’s Fund or another childhood cancer research fund.

For more on Hazel, visit Hammersley’s blog and the Facebook page Hope for Hazel.

hazel-2