Liverpool Charity Advent: Showcasing some of the best organisations across the city region in the build up to Christmas
2 months ago
Christmas is all about giving and letting people know you care, and for independent charities that really matters.
Liverpool City Region has some amazing charities who make a difference 365 days a year, often with teams of dedicated volunteers giving up their own time.
That’s why this Christmas, The Guide is showing them the love they deserve by highlighting the fantastic work they do. Our Charity Advent Calendar will put the spotlight on a good cause every day in December up to Christmas Eve.
It’s a tough time for charities right now – this is our chance to support them and make sure they can be there for everyone who needs them …
1st December – Claire House
We all know about the incredible work the team do at Claire House. Claire House Children’s Hospice helps seriously and terminally ill children make the most of the time they have however long or short that may be. By providing specialist nursing and end of life care, as well as emotional support Claire House helps families through some of the toughest times of their lives.
There are lots of ways you can support including booking a ticket to The Claire House Christmas Concert at St. George’s Hall on Tuesday 13 December where you’ll be in for a fun, festive night. You can also donate or do some fundraising to ensure more children and families are cared for in our area. Watch the Christmas appeal video above and share on your socials.
Find out more about Claire House here.
2nd December – Fans Supporting Food Banks
So many more people are having to rely on foodbanks as the cost-of-living crisis really hits home and Liverpool has great community-based charities that help keep their shelves stocked.
When it comes to anyone in need, there’s no such thing as footy rivalries in this city and Fans Supporting Foodbanks brings together Reds and Blues in one big united effort to tackle food insecurity.
Fans Supporting Foodbanks has been going since 2015 when it was set up as a partnership between Spirit of Shankly and The Blue Union supporters clubs, raising money and organising collections outside the grounds.
They do that all year round, backed by volunteers, players, managers and legends from both clubs, and their work is especially relied on to help families who are struggling to put food on their tables at Christmas.
Find out more about Fans Supporting Foodbanks and how to donate here.
3rd December – The Hive, Wirral
The Hive in the centre of Birkenhead is an award-winning space created specially to support and inspire young people, and hopefully change their lives for the better.
It gives anyone aged 8 – 19 – and up to 25 for those with disabilities – a safe place to get together and have fun, try new things and learn new skills, with a range of activities to choose from.
Facilities include a climbing wall, boxing gym (it launched an amateur boxing club at the beginning of this year) music suite, salon, art room, rooftop football pitch and sensory room, and members have a chance to take part in some amazing experiences.
One of the best things about The Hive is that it’s been created in consultation with the young people it’s made for, so the things that go on are exactly what they want.
The Hive is a charity so it relies on support and donations. To find out more go to the website here.
4th December – James’ Place
James’ Place opened in Liverpool in June 2018, the first of its kind in the UK.
It exists to save the lives of men in suicidal crisis, and aims to make finding help as easy as possible, offering emotional and practical support.
The charity was set up by Clare Milford Haven and Nick Wentworth-Stanley after their 21-year-old son, James, died by suicide 10 days after a minor operation. James had no history of mental illness or depression and had sought urgent help for anxiety and suicidal thoughts … but didn’t find it.
James’ Place offers men who are experiencing a suicidal crisis a brief, intensive, therapeutic intervention in a safe environment. Men who walk through the door at James’ Place will be in a space where they feel valued and respected.
James’ Place in Liverpool, and in London – a second James’ Place centre opened in the capital in 2022, and three more centres will be opened in the next three years – have to date supported more than 800 men experiencing suicidal crisis and delivered more than 2,000 therapy sessions.
Here’s how you can find out more: https://www.jamesplace.org.uk/
5th December – Bobby Colleran Trust
When Bobby Colleran was killed in a road accident on his way home from school in West Derby, his family was determined to campaign for safer roads to protect kids.
They set up The Bobby Colleran Trust in 2014 and started ‘Slow Down for Bobby’ in the six-year-old’s name to highlight the need for lower speed limits, introducing 20mph ‘Bobby Zones’ outside schools.
The Trust promotes road safety in schools through special assemblies and resources including books, safety checklists and free hi-vis vests for children to wear, and also provides bereavement and mental health support for children through its Take Care for Bobby initiative.
This year, it was able to launch a lasting legacy for Bobby after years of fundraising – it opened a centre for health and wellbeing, Bobby’s Base, in West Derby, which hastherapy rooms, a sensory garden and an informal chat and chill space for young people.
To find out more about The Bobby Colleran Trust, go to: https://thebobbycollerantrust.org.uk/
6th December – The Florrie’s Food Support Programme
Loads of people are finding life tough at the moment as rising costs force many to make difficult choices like putting on the heating or putting food on the table.
That’s where The Florrie Food Support Programme can help, offering a lifeline to people and families across Liverpool who may be struggling.
Through the Community Shop at its Mill Street base, the programme gives people access to affordable groceries, toiletries, baby products and clothing each week.
All you have to do to shop there is become a member – membership is open to anyone in Liverpool no matter what your circumstances are – by taking proof of your address to The Florrie, at 377 Mill Street, L8 4RF.
That enables you to get 10 items for just £5, with items varying week to week from fresh food, store cupboard essentials, and household items, to frozen goods, toiletries, and confectionery.
Members also have access to a range of discount clothing, other household goods, seasonal items, and special offers from time to time.
The Florrie Community Shop is open every Friday from 10.30am to 2.30pm.
Food Aid Liverpool takes place at The Florrie on 1 April 2023, bringing with it some of the UK’s biggest tribute acts. All proceeds will support people in our city. Find out more here.
To learn more, go to the website here.
7th December – Alder Hey’s Surgical Neonatal Appeal
Alder Hey’s #TogetherforAlder Hey PJ Campaign has become as much a part of the festive calendar as decorating the tree or visiting Santa in his grotto.
And this year it’s no different with a newly designed range of family pyjamas from Matalan who partner with Alder Hey Children’s Charity for the annual fundraiser.
All profits this year will go to the charity’s Surgical Neonatal Appeal to help to support the building of a new state-of-the-art Surgical Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), on the site of the children’s hospital.
In partnership with Liverpool Women’s Hospital, the new unit will be the first of its kind in the UK to provide family integrated care and will provide a safer service for babies, reducing the number of transfers of newborns between both hospitals by 50%, and allowing neonatal babies to receive the treatment and expert care needed with their families close by, thanks to individual family rooms where parents stay alongside their newborns 24 hours a day.
Charity funding will provide ‘over and above’ enhancements and equipment for both the clinical space and family areas.
You can get the PJs from Matalan stores, Alder Hey Charity shops, or online at www.matalan.co.uk/charity/alder-hey/together-for-alder-hey/view-all
December – The Pain Relief Foundation
Almost half of adults and children in the UK have their day-to-day impacted by some kind of chronic pain. That could be back pain, fibromyalgia, diabetic pain or migraine.
It can stop people from working or going out, and often leave them feeling down and isolated.
But a charity in Liverpool is helping to fund research into medical breakthroughs which will give them back their quality of life.
The Pain Relief Foundation, which is based in Aintree University Hospital, supports students and health professionals to find the answers to where chronic pain comes from, and how it can be best treated and eased.
It’s a charity that’s known worldwide, it’s genuinely a world-leader, and it started right here on our doorstep so it’s something we can be really proud of.
To find out more about The Pain Relief Foundation and the incredible work it does go to: https://painrelieffoundation.org.uk/
9th December – YKids, Bootle
Its heart lies in its Bootle base, but Ykids works across Merseyside to improve the lives and futures of children, young people and their families living in some of the most deprived areas.
It offers help from mentoring programmes, school and street projects, and sports & arts initiatives, to community events and parent groups and support. It even runs a community pantry and 10 weekly clubs ranging from theatre and the arts to life skills and sport.
Ykids says: “Our vision is to raise world changers – young people who believe that they can, and then do, make a difference.
“We live in a global village with infinite access and opportunities for today’s young people, but it also exposes them to the many issues and challenges. It’s easy for young people to become despondent and feel powerless at the sheer volume of problems in the world today, however everyone can make a difference, big or small, if they believe they can – and have the emotional resilience to keep going even when the going gets tough.”
10th December – Marie Curie Liverpool
IF you’ve ever had a friend or relative with a terminal illness, there’s every chance you may have been thankful to Marie Curie, for being the crutch that was needed for that person close to you… and for you.
Marie Curie is one of the UK’s leading end of life charities, providing frontline nursing and hospice care and a free support line, as well as information and support on all aspects of dying, death and bereavement.
Its frontline community nurses work in people’s homes, providing hands-on care and emotional support, and they help those living with a terminal illness to feel safe and supported, wherever they’re being cared for.
Marie Curie’s nine hospices – like that in Speke Road, Woolton – offer specialist palliative care and support in a friendly, welcoming environment – whether someone is staying in the hospice or coming in for the day. And the charity, which has shops across the city region which you can support, funds palliative and end of life care research, with its own researchers and in partnership with other organisations.
11th December – Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice
For families who have a baby or small child with a life-threatening or life-limiting condition, Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice is an absolute lifeline.
It’s the only one of its kind in the UK, catering specifically for babies, giving care and support not only to little ones but the whole family.
Zoe’s Place in West Derby has created a community where they offer invaluable respite – allowing a good night’s sleep for parents – counselling sessions, sibling support, activity days and more.
During their stay, children aged up to five have various therapies to make a real difference to their quality of life, including art, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy and play therapy in a specially designed soft play area.
This Christmas, Zoe’s Place has launched its ‘Be a Shining Star for Zoe’s Place’ campaign so friends and workmates can get together and get involved in some festive fundraising to support the hospice’s amazing work.
To find out more about how to get involved, go to the website here.
12th December – The Brain Charity
Our brain runs our whole world, making our body move, making our decisions … and even telling us when to smile.
So if you’re diagnosed with a neurological condition which affects that, it’s understandable that you can become lonely and frightened.
Your life could be turned upside down and you could lose control of your life, and face unemployment and poverty.
Thankfully, The Brain Charity is there to make sure that doesn’t happen.
A national organisation based in Liverpool, The Brain Charity champions neurodiversity and helps anyone affected by a neurological condition to pick up the pieces, so they can rebuild their lives and achieve their potential.
There are more than 600 conditions affecting the brain, spine and nervous system – and it offers practical help, emotional support and social activities for every single one.
Find out more at www.thebraincharity.org.uk
13th December – North West Cancer Research
North West Cancer Research is an independent charity dedicated to putting the region’s cancer needs first.
It funds research to tackle the cause, improve the care, and find the cure for cancer, and focuses on the types of cancer that affect people living across Merseyside and the North West area the most, like head and neck cancer, prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
Although one in two people will develop cancer, that probability is raised by another 25% in the North West, making the work it does absolutely essential.
And since 2000, it’s funded more than £45 million of world-class research!
More than 50 active research projects are being carried out at any one time: in the lab where scientists spend hours, days, weeks, months, and years carrying out ground-breaking work, to studies in the communities and hospitals we all know.
As an independent charity North West Cancer Research relies solely on donations so every penny matters – whether it’s pence, a few pounds or hundreds of pounds.
To find out more go to https://www.nwcr.org/.
14th December – Papercup Project & Papercup Coffee
Volunteers from The Paper Cup Project have been going out on the streets in Liverpool city centre for the past six years, offering help people who are homeless.
In all weathers, they’re out there providing much-needed food and hot drinks, warm dry clothing and support for rough sleepers and anyone experiencing homelessness.
Earlier this year, Paper Cup added to its outreach by opening Paper Cup Coffee in Queen Square, giving homeless people the hospitality experience they need to get back into work.
The not-for-profit café provides training in barista and customer service skills to equip them to apply for jobs with local restaurants and bars.
It also has a pay-it-forward coffee scheme so customers can donate a free coffee to someone, and this Christmas it’s launched Paper Cup Christmas so people can buy a ready-made festive gift package for a homeless person to collect from under the café tree on Christmas Eve.
To donate a Paper Cup Christmas gift go to: https://visufund.com/paper-cup-christmas-gifts/?p=1
15th December – Alfie’s Squad
Liverpool’s full of amazing kids doing great things and Alfie Fitzsimmons is definitely one of those.
Alfie lost his dad when he took his own life in 2017 and, while he was still dealing with his own grief, the Blues fan decided he wanted to help others so got in touch with Everton in the Community to ask what he could do.
Since then, they’ve worked together to launch Alfie’s Squad, fundraising to provide much-needed mental health support for children who have been bereaved through suicide. The new group has now become part of Everton in the Community’s plans to build a new mental health facility, the People’s Place, near its Goodison Park stadium.
13-year-old Alfie’s goal is to provide somewhere for young people in a similar situation to him to meet, make friends aand share how they’re feeling.
He’s already raised more than £22,000, thanks to his own efforts and through supporters. To find out more go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/evertonalfie
16th December – Stick n’ Step
Stick ‘n’ Step provides free weekly active learning sessions for children and young people with cerebral palsy up to the age of 25, so they can gain the skills they need to live more independent lives and reach their personal potential.
Sessions use play and music to help develop functional skills, motivating and empowering young people in a positive environment.
Stick ‘n’ Step supports the whole family and its centres in Wallasey and Runcorn give parents and extended family the opportunity to meet and take some time out while their children develop in the classroom.
The charity relies on supporters and volunteers to help raise the £750,000 needed to deliver its services to over 100 families each year. Stick ‘n’ Step is currently looking for volunteers to help out with bucket collections across the region throughout December. To offer support over the festive period, contact Rhianna on 07483 950 065 or find out more about Stick ‘n’ Step at www.sticknstep.org.
17the December – Owen McVeigh Foundation
The Owen McVeigh Foundation helps create unique experiences and treasured memories for children with cancer and their families on Merseyside.
The Foundation was set up in memory of Owen McVeigh who was just 11 years old when he passed away in December 2015 after being diagnosed with leukaemia.
The West Derby schoolboy was a massive Reds fan and had been a regular at Anfield since he was only five, going to games with dad Mark. Owen’s family started fundraising in his name soon after died, and since then they’ve supported more than 2,000 poorly children and their siblings.
The Owen McVeigh Foundation provides free holidays at Peacock Lodge in the Lakes for families who have a child suffering with cancer, and makes memories by arranging experiences including sport, theatre and gigs and special trips.
It’s close to so many hearts in Liverpool and around the world, especially footy fans. To find out more about the brilliant work it does, go to: https://www.owenmcveighfoundation.co.uk/
18th December – Love Jasmine
Love, Jasmine is a Liverpool charity which offers help and support to families affected by the loss of a child…when it’s needed, for as long as it’s needed.
It was set up in 2016 by Kathy Lapsley and her husband Rob after they lost their six-year-old daughter, Jasmine, two years before.
Kathy says: “We felt at the time there weren’t opportunities for bereaved families to meet each other and we began by offering groups to parents and younger siblings.”
They have since gone on to provide:
* Emotional support, including one-to-one counselling for bereaved parents, grandparents, and siblings, including trauma-based therapies. They also offer family group work and support groups, with regular coffee mornings open to all family members.
* Practical support: Families may need help getting the right support and referrals to other agencies, and Love, Jasmine offers this as well as transport to and from appointments.
* Self-care: The charity promotes self-care to help families develop their own coping strategies, with complementary therapies, and free yoga and meditation classes.
Since it began, Love, Jasmine – based in Wavertree Business Village – has supported 400 families dealing with the devastating loss of a child.
Find out more here: https://www.lovejasmine.org.uk/
19th December – Freshfields Animal Rescue
Freshfields Animal Rescue has been caring for abused, abandoned and unwanted animals in Merseyside for almost 50 years.
It rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes more than 1,000 animals every year, and its Wildlife Unit is tackling threats to urban wildlife, like hedgehogs and wild birds.
PR officer Debbie Hughes says: “We care for the most diverse range of creatures in the North West, including dogs, cats, rabbits, small animals, and farm animals such as sheep and pigs. We are there for the animals for as long as they need us, and we make sure that they are warm, fed, safe and loved, until the wonderful day we wave them off as they go to their forever loving new home.”
More than a rescue centre, however, Freshfields in Ince Blundell, Liverpool, works at the heart of the local community with people who come together united by its core purpose – to make the world a better place for all animals. Debbie adds: “The links between animals and better mental health are well known, and volunteers tell us that working at Freshfields gives them a sense of purpose and improves their self-esteem.
“So come and find out more and join our Freshfields family. You will be changing lives every day – including your own!”
Find out more here: https://www.freshfields.org.uk/
20th December – Sahir House
Despite losing part of its funding this year, Sahir House continues to be a vibrant and inclusive Merseyside-based charity.
It’s received a substantial grant and its campaign to ‘Come Together For Sahir House’ is urging people to donate money so it can carry on providing the service for which it’s been applauded for years – promoting better sexual health and wellness for all, and supporting the needs of LGBTQ+ people across the region.
Among its root services, Sahir House offers HIV support, prevention, and information:
* Providing risk reduction interventions including condom distribution schemes and community rapid HIV testing
* Promoting HIV awareness through community engagement to reduce stigma and improve understanding of the issues faced by those living with HIV, and
* Giving advice and information to those living with and affected by so they can live independently
Sahir House adds: “As a charity, we are committed to providing a safe environment for people questioning or exploring their sexuality and/or gender identity alongside people living with HIV, their families, carers, supporters and asylum and refugee communities.”
Read more here: https://sahir.org.uk/
21st December – WHISC
The pressures on everyone’s mental health continue to increase which is why the help and support of WHISC has never been more valued.
The Women’s Health Information & Support Centre has seen a huge rise in the number of women accessing its services over the last few years, but the Bold Street charity remains ever-ready to help, with a listening ear, support and advice and, even, a good cup of tea!
Launched 38 years ago, WHISC has provided an invaluable service to the city, dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of women and their families throughout Liverpool and the surrounding areas.
Its experienced team guarantees a warm and friendly welcome, along with an extensive range of information, and support and guidance services designed to improve women’s health in its broadest sense.
It says: “We support women who are living with anxiety, depression stress-related illness and those who are feeling isolated or simply in need of a listening ear.”
Women can also join free workshops, classes, and training courses. To find out more go to: https://whisc.org.uk/
22 December – Love Wavertree
If ever there was an organisation which shows what people of a community can do when they come together for each other, Love Wavertree has got to be it: a community campaign working with and for its residents, by its residents.
Love Wavertree began in 2019 in response to negative opinions of the Liverpool suburb which described a failing High Street and ‘a Wavertree that seemed far removed from the experience of the people actually living here’.
There is and remains, say those involved, one thing Wavertree isn’t short of, and that is community spirit. And it shows.
Love Wavertree, has worked hard to boost and unite its community, organising litter picks, Liverpool’s first ever Car Free Day, and events like a Winter Wonderland in the local library. It even opened its own community shop – The Hub – which sells vintage and second-hand goods as well as locally-sourced gift items and work from local artists and creatives.
It’s gone on to develop the Love Wavertree Food Club to prevent food waste, it funds English lessons for Ukranian adults, and it’s given out grants to support local organisations and projects.
To find out more, go to: https://www.lovewavertree.com/
23rd December – MICAH Liverpool
Micah Liverpool was set up by Liverpool Cathedral, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, and St Bride’s Church to offer help and support to people suffering from social injustice and poverty.
It runs projects to combat unemployment and deliver emergency food aid as well as affordable food.
* Emergency Food Aid: Its food bank pantry sessions are open to anybody in need, and provides emergency three-day food parcels once a week, for four weeks. (Evidence is needed for further support). There are two pantries a week – at The Parish Church of St Vincent de Paul and St Bride’s – and in the last six months it’s been able to support around 6,500 guests, including more than 1,400 children.
* Community Markets: Micah Liverpool currently runs two community markets that are open to the public offering food and goods deemed surplus to requirements by supermarkets at below market prices.
They are open Wednesdays at St Dunstan’s Church, Earle Road, Liverpool L7 6HD (10am -12noon), and Fridays at C3 Church in Kempston Street L3 8HE (10.30am-12.30pm), and £1.50 buys you 15 items of groceries and household goods.
* The Micah Liverpool Volunteer Programme works with people who have been unemployed long-term, supporting them for nine weeks to improve skills, confidence and readiness for work.
To find out more: https://micahliverpool.com/
24th December – An Hour For Others
An Hour for Others is a simple idea that can make a massive difference to people and communities, providing a platform for businesses and individuals to share their skills, donations, and materials, and offer help to those in need.
It began just over nine years ago when, wondering what he could do to help others, founder Kevin Morland had a ‘lightbulb moment’.
He says: “It dawned on me that the idea of giving a skill and time free of charge, and some materials, to help vulnerable people and those in their hour of need, could literally involve everyone giving back in a small way that suits them.”
What started as a CIC grew into a strong charity through which people and organisations can offer their time and services to match people’s needs, or donations and sponsorships to support AHFO work.
And they say: “We don’t care what your skills are, or how much time you have to give, we just appreciate your support. From litter-pickers to yoga teachers, plumbers to musicians, footballers to chefs; every little really does help.”
To find out more, go to: https://www.anhourforothers.co.uk/