For too many families, Christmas is yet another hurdle in their ongoing battle against poverty, especially now with the cost of living crisis and families struggling to provide their children with basic necessities such as food, shelter, clothing and heating.
An estimated 20% of children in the borough of Bromley are living in poverty (2021/22 figures); that equates to over 16,000 children. For many of those children, there will be no visit from Father Christmas, no stockings filled with gifts, no Christmas tree surrounded by presents and no festive feast and treats to enjoy. Christmas can be a time of sadness, disappointment and exclusion, in place of excitement and happiness.
Parents feel a significant burden during the Christmas season as they strive to provide some semblance of joy and celebration for their children. The pressure to fulfil societal expectations of gift-giving can lead to increased stress and feelings of inadequacy. Increasingly, children living in poverty experience the stark contrast between their own reality and the abundance of others, triggering feelings of alienation and low self-esteem.
Iz Youth Ambassador for End Child Poverty
At Bromley Brighter Beginnings, we firmly believe that Christmas should be a joyful and magical occasion for children. Every year, we strive to make this a reality for the families we support through our Christmas in a Bag effort.
Our Christmas campaign began in 2016, providing for around 50 children, and with your help Team BBB has been growing and sprinkling a little more Christmas magic with each year. In 2022 we were able to provide for nearly 700 children and their families. Every year this number continues to increase so we are anticipating an even higher number of referrals for 2023.
Nancy Lengthorn (Christmas in a Bag Coordinator)
Our BBB Christmas Bags are packed full of books, toys, gifts, Christmas treats, cosy nightwear, and supermarket vouchers, designed to help families who are struggling financially or living in challenging circumstances.
This is only made possible by the generosity and wealth of Christmas spirit shown throughout our community. Team BBB and the families we help cannot thank you enough for your support over the years.
This year we have secured funding which will help us pay for pyjamas, books, Black hair products and gift vouchers for older children, as well as allowing us to double the value of the supermarket vouchers we are providing. This gives us an amazing start and enables us to be able to reduce our ask of you, our generous community!
However, there are lots of ways you can still get involved:
We know times are tough for everyone at the moment, and we are so grateful for every donation. If a financial contribution is not a possibility for you this year, you can still help us raise awareness across the community – simply sharing the link to this page with friends, family and colleagues could make a HUGE difference.
We pack and deliver the bags before December so families are not stressing about how they’ll afford Christmas and so that children can open their advent calendars on December 1st. Packing day will be on Saturday 25th November 2023 and we are expecting more referrals than ever so let’s get started bringing the joy to families in need.
This year’s wishlist will be brimming with toys and treats to help make Christmas day extra special. Last year your generous donations meant we received over 2,000 gifts through our Amazon wishlist.
We have reduced our Amazon wishlist this year compared to previous years in favour of purchasing some items in bulk from local independent retailers, to reduce packaging and support our local community. We know some people prefer to not shop from Amazon so we have plenty of other ways you can get involved such as donating directly via JustGiving.
Do you have a ‘pre-loved’ Christmas jumper or even a new one you don’t or won’t wear? Jumpers can be any size from newborn to adult but must be in great preloved condition (no bobbles or stains, no pulled threads) and CLEAN, so that we can pass them straight on to families. Donation Locations.
Have you or your child recently received an unwanted or duplicate gift that you’d like to pass on to a family who will appreciate it this Christmas?
All Christmas jumpers and new gift donations should be delivered to our drop-off locations throughout the borough, use the contacts below (either using Facebook message or email):
|West Wickham||Anna Parsonage||BR4email@example.com|
|Petts Wood||Helen Scothern||BR5firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Petts Wood||Karen Ozkan||BR5email@example.com|
|Orpington||Hannah C Mead||BR6firstname.lastname@example.org|
We would love local schools and groups to get involved and help us collect items to go in the Christmas Bags. If you are someone who works in a school or a parent/carer with children at school you can ask your school if they would like to get involved.
Calling all businesses! Are you looking for a small charity to support this Christmas? Somewhere you know your donation will make a real difference? If so, we’d love to talk to you about donations towards one of our gift categories.
You can donate directly to Bromley Brighter Beginnings via JustGiving. Monies donated will be used to top up our Christmas spending / vouchers where necessary and fund other ongoing campaigns throughout the year.
Why not host your own fundraising event or collect sponsorship for your next challenge, to raise money for Bromley Brighter Beginnings?
For fundraising support, or to share news of your events, email email@example.com.
Sharing our mission is vital to our success. Especially if a financial contribution is not a possibility for you this year, you can still help us raise awareness across the community.
You can download a pdf version by clicking the link for leaflet.
The following items have been requested for donations in previous years but, thanks to funding we have secured throughout the year, will be coordinated and bought by the charity directly for the Christmas bags this year.
If you’d like to contribute further to the purchase of these items you can do so by donating directly to JustGiving.
Every child will receive a new cozy pair of pyjamas to snuggle up in. Over the years our pyjama collection has been extremely popular with you, our lovely supporters, but with nearly 700 children last year it has become progressively more difficult to manage donations logistically.
As pyjamas are bought specifically for the referrals we receive, buying centrally will make Madeleine Hay’s job (aka our Pyjama Queen) much simpler!
Reading in childhood promotes better long-term outcomes. That’s why we include a book for every child in our Christmas bags, and also give out books throughout the year to the families we support.
A large proportion of books will be bought using secured funding, meaning we can support local independent booksellers such as https://www.thisisbooklove.com/ and select a range of beautiful, multicultural and diverse books.
We are increasingly improving the inclusivity of our bags; tailoring them to each referral family in terms of faith, ethnicity, gender and size.
This year, thanks to our funding, we will be selecting a local, minority-owned business to ensure we tailor to the unique needs of different hair types for Black individuals.
As the cost of living continues to rise we will be doubling the value of the supermarket vouchers we include for families this year.
In addition, secondary school children will receive vouchers so that they are able to choose their own gift this year.
Watch our video from last year’s campaign to see how donations meant nearly 700 Bromley children were gifted Christmas in a Bag – just magical!
~ Bromley Children Project
~ Home Start Bromley
~ Health visitor