How our support for BBC Children in Need helps families access everyday essentials

November 10, 2020

We'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who's supporting this year's BBC Children in Need appeal.

Our customers and colleagues' donations support the charity's Emergency Essentials programme, which helps children and young people in the UK who are struggling to cope without basic, everyday items that most of us take for granted.

BBC Children in Need is currently supporting over 555,000 children across the UK and, thanks to the fundraising by our colleagues and customers, the charity will be able to support children and families with essential items such as a cooker to make a hot meal, or a bed to sleep in.

Here are a just a few examples of the difference the money we're raising is making across the country. Stories are based on real life case studies, though some details have been changed to protect the identity of the families.

Joshua's story

After being evicted from their home, eight-year-old Joshua’s family including both parents and his three siblings lived with a family member. The council offered them a property for the family to live in, however due to being homeless they had no furniture or essentials items. This meant Joshua didn’t have a bed of his own, and neither did his siblings. In addition to this, Dad is vulnerable and has had to self-isolate throughout the pandemic, so income is limited, putting extra pressure on the family and no money to buy essential items. Joshua’s school attendance has been affected due to little sleep and without a cooker, no hot meals throughout the pandemic, as they usually had these at school. Emergency Essentials provided the family with a bunk bed, as well as a cooker. Joshua and his siblings now get a good night’s sleep in a bed of their own, and the cooker allows the family to eat hot, healthy and nutritious food.

Arron's story

Arron is 10 years old and lives with his mum, dad and two younger brothers. The family are currently experiencing a loss of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Arron is vulnerable due to an underlying health condition and has had to shield throughout the pandemic and the family have had to use a foodbank during this time to get by. The family don’t have access to a washing machine, have little family support, and no way of accessing a laundrette during this time. Due to his health condition and the need to keep germs at bay, it is really important for Arron to be able to have clean clothes. Emergency Essentials have provided the family with a washing machine to ensure their clothes can be washed, keeping Arron and the family as safe as possible. The arrival of the washing machine has meant that there is one less worry in a very stressful situation.

Annabelle's story

Annabelle is seven years old. Two years ago she was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer. It’s a 45 mile journey to the hospital for her specialist treatment, and Annabelle has to be there for weeks at a time. Mum gave up her job to be with Annabelle and Dad has had to reduce his hours in order to look after Annabelle’s siblings. On top of all this, their fridge freezer is very old and has stopped working, and the family have been living on takeaways and ready meals, whilst they save up for a new one. However with little income this has proven really hard. Emergency Essentials provided the family with a fridge freezer, to help alleviate the stress and worry for the family. This also means that when Annabelle is home, she can eat fresh and nutritious food supporting her low immune system, caused by the treatment is she receiving.

Lauren's story

Mum Lauren, and her one-year-old daughter Yasmin has been living in a women’s refuge, after Lauren was subject to sustained domestic abuse and the home was no longer deemed safe for them to stay. Lauren has now been offered a permanent property to live in, which she has accepted. However with Lauren experiencing PTSD and anxiety from the trauma she experienced, she’s been unable to work and the family has very little money coming in. Lauren was extremely worried about moving into the property which had no furnishings or essentials items, and was worried about providing Yasmin with everything she needed. Lauren applied for a cooker and a buggy to support with rebuilding their lives in their new home. The cooker means that Lauren can provide Yasmin with healthy, home cooked meals and the buggy is enabling them to travel to essential healthcare appointments and ensures they continue to access vital support services.

Adam's story

BBC Children in Need’s Emergency Essentials programme has supported young carer Adam 15, who lives with his mum and younger sister. Adam’s mum suffers with mental health problems, which have deteriorated since the start of the pandemic and Adam has taken on the responsibility of looking after the family. Due to recent flooding, many of the family's possessions were deemed unsafe to use or destroyed. The family were provided with a cooker and table and chairs so they can cook healthy meals, eat together and complete school work, as well as providing new school uniform for Adam and his sister to return to school in. Adam’s teachers have seen the positive difference this has made to Adam being able to prioritise his school work now he is no longer worried about how the family were going to manage.

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