12 things that Liverpool is doing for the homeless, lonely and vulnerable this Christmas
“So this is Christmas, and what have you done?… Another year over and a new ones just begun”
It’s Christmas! You are getting ready, buying presents and getting the food ready for the big day. That day will come and go and we will be warm, drinking baileys in our snug Christmas jumpers (or onesies!) – But what about others less fortunate than us?
In this city we have seen levels of homelessness go up in the last few years, while government initiatives are creating a solution to the problem in part, the underworld of homelessness is something that many of us will never be fully aware of. There is an element of street politics that people can’t begin to comprehend, that makes the need for more diverse help all the more important. According to Homeless Link, 72% of homeless are challenged by mental illnesses and over 50% have long term physical health issues.
Liverpool has and will hopefully always be a city that helps those less fortunate, a city that welcomes others with open arms! Let’s see what initiatives are taking place around the city this Christmas;
Whitechapel Centre – Leading the way
The Whitechapel centre is regarded in Liverpool as leading the way in efforts to prevent homelessness and the misinformation and stigma surrounding homeless seeking help. Many people this year will be dropping off clothes, volunteering to help out and doing individual fund raising in the hope to give it to Whitechapel to benefit those in need.
The Whitechapel won’t just be here over Christmas, they are here all year round and need to be remembered. They do a vital work with the homeless every single day.
Liverpool Homeless FC
It’s estimated that 100,000 children will wake up homeless this Christmas in the UK (statistics from the National charity Shelter). Many of them will be within family hostels and refuges.
Liverpool Homeless FC is a charity set up to help the homeless through the power of sport – Specifically football. Offering hope to those who are in need. So what better for an already charitable organisation to help this year by trying to help children who will wake up without toys this year. They have organised a toy appeal which spanned from late November to December 18th aim to give toys to children who would otherwise wake up without.
The Beatles Story and Can Cook – Imagine no food poverty
This year we have seen the 75th Birthday of the greatest Scouser to ever live (in my opinion anyway!) Can Cook, Cavern Tours and The Beatles Story have launched an initiative that appeals to the booming tourism sector but benefits the local community too.
When John Lennon was growing up in the 40s, Chocolate was rationed – so to make it last they would make chocolate cake with the rations and share it with the kids. Julia Baird, John Lennon’s half-sister recalls her memory of John loving chocolate cake and has created a unique Chocolate brownie to commemorate his birthday in October and help local charity’s fight food poverty.
In October The Beatles Story held celebrations for Johns 75th birthday and managed to raise money by selling off an impressive guitar shaped Chocolate Cake. Recently The Beatles Story took to the whitechapel centre to help feed those in need in the run up to Christmas, once again proving that the legacy of The Beatles and John Lennon is creating charitable hearts and making everyone “come together.”
Yummy Café owner Simon Whitter is opening his doors to the homeless
The cafe owner who was once homeless himself will be serving full English breakfasts to those who are sleeping rough over Christmas.
Simon, 42, who was placed in care as a child and spent several months living on the streets in Manchester as a teenager, says he wants to spread some seasonal joy in his East Prescot Road cafe. He doesn’t have the facility’s to make a full roast for everyone, but is working with what he has to make Christmas day better for those in need.
He is also planning on giving out gifts to all who attend. Another great show of charity within the local community.
Kirkdale ABC, The Segura and ERGO Sports
Members of Kirkdale ABC, along with key sponsors The Segura and Ergo Sport will be helping and supporting the elderly people of Kirkdale/Walton this Christmas, living up to their slogan “More than just a boxing club.”
At the heart of this will be Terry May, who owns The Segura and Bernie Mays on Liverpool’s County Road. He is passionate about the local community and regeneration within it. With his facilities they will be cooking and supplying Christmas dinners this year, going around dishing them out to the elderly people of Kirkdale/Walton free of charge.
They have local people involved in helping other local people. If anything brings the feeling of community spirit back to Walton and Kirkdale – Its kindness like this.
Say it with Flours
Say It With Flours was founded in late 2011 by Braidy Maloney and is a local bakery, specialising in custom cakes and cupcakes (Stocked in shops in Liverpool ONE, Aigburth and the Baltic Social) #foodbankmovement is in its third year now, and this year has collected over £1000 to spend on food and essentials for multiple foodbanks across Liverpool with the support of many people behind them.
They have gave all the food that has been collected has went to Trussel Trust food banks. Such as the Noah’s Ark Centre in Speke, Bridge Chapel in Garston, Frontline in Wavertree and St Andrews Community Centre for north Liverpool.
In such times of austerity that we live in, gestures like this go a long way towards helping normal people in local communities who are currently falling on hard times.
James Bulger Memorial Trust
The fantastic James Bulger Memorial trust, which focuses on providing respite and support to deserving children who need it throughout the year – Have been giving away presents this Christmas to kids.
Not only have they been around the city doing it, but today they will be at Alder Hey Hospital, delivering presents to kids who will unfortunately be spending it in hospital.
More has been promised from the charity next year, as they have some amazing ideas up their sleeves to help more children that deserve a smile at Christmas.
Operation Christmas Child in Sefton
Operation Christmas child has returned to Liverpool and Southport, as the initiative celebrates its 25th anniversary.
A project of Samaritan’s Purse, OCC sends millions of shoe boxes full of toys, sweets and treats to youngsters around the world to help them celebrate the season.
Last year, over 385,000 shoe boxes left the UK to reach children in need in foreign countries and this year it is hoped to reach even more children, especially in war torn countries. With everything that is currently happening in Syria and the subsequent refugee crisis, Shoe Box Appeals are bigger than I have ever known it to be.
White Christmas Liverpool at the Titanic Hotel
White Christmas Liverpool offers a meal and entertainment for up to 500 elderly people and vulnerable people who are socially isolated and who would otherwise spend the day alone, this year being held at the Titanic Hotel, Liverpool in the Rum Warehouse.
The event will provide transport to and from the venue, a three-course meal cooked and served by a team of dedicated volunteers, entertainment and a gift for each guest.
White Christmas Liverpool is supported by Jamie Carragher’s 23 Foundation, The Titanic Hotel, Liverpool, Herbert of Liverpool’s “Queenies Christmas”, non-financial support from Liverpool City Council’s Cllr Gerard Woodhouse, Carpenters Law Solicitors and many other local organisations and individuals who have donated gifts and held staff events to help fundraising
This year X Factor Star Chris Maloney from Liverpool, will be giving up a big part of his Christmas Day to help ensure guests have a great time, not only that but he will be singing and entertaining them. This really is a fantastic event, as a city we should be proud of the organisers and sponsors for putting on such a grand event for so many people who would otherwise be alone.
An Hour for Others
This charity is doing great things within the city! Recently a pensioner from Everton shared a tragic story in the Echo about spending his 6th Christmas alone. “An hour for others” came forward to offer help.
Since Fred spoke of facing his sixth Christmas alone, he has received countless offers from people inviting him to events, offering company and “an hour for others” even redecorated his living room in time for Christmas!
Not only have they brought us this lovely story, they have been helping out the local community in the form of hampers, transport and Christmas visitations to families in need of the comfort.
Liverpool Homeless Outreach and Churches in Liverpool
Between the age of 18 and 20 I helped out at the Liverpool Homeless Outreach. Seeing first-hand how each night a dedicated team make their way down to Slater Street to provide food, advice, clothing, bedding and winter essentials for the city’s homeless.
Because of the voluntary nature of it, without a paid worker in sight – The city’s homeless have a strong bond to this small group of volunteers and a mutual respect for each other. It’s genuinely heart-warming to see the genuine love outpoured on the homeless from this group of Christian helpers.
As well as many other churches and organisations (Such as the Liverpool City Mission) the homeless will be careered for this Christmas by many willing volunteers to demonstrate love to others.
The Bido Lito! #GuestlistGiving campaign has been set up in conjunction with Liverpool’s independent venues and promoters to raise money for The Whitechapel Centre to help them carry out the vital work they do in helping the city’s homeless community. Running from Thursday 26th November to Thursday 28th January, the campaign aims to raise money by asking anyone on the guest list at any affiliated gig or show during this period to make a small donation to the charity. Bido Lito! are running this campaign with the help of a range of the city’s independent venues and promoters: their support for the project has been overwhelmingly positive and is reflective of the warmth that Liverpool exudes as a city. Promoters EVOL, Harvest Sun, Circus, Mellowtone, Ceremony Concerts and Abandon Silence, and venues such as The Kazimier, Buyers Club and Constellations, amongst many others, have signed up to give their full support to the campaign at their shows. Head to bidolito.co.uk now for a full list of affiliated shows in the #GuestlistGiving campaign.
We should be proud of our city, all that we have done, all that we can do and will continue to do. We should also not forget the many other individual efforts to help others this Christmas, the silent word and the secret invites and the perfect presents.
From everyone at The Guide Liverpool, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
By Dale Roberts