There’s an unwritten Christmas rule in Liverpool that all children get new pyjamas on Christmas Eve. From babies to teenagers (and beyond – I still get mine!) it’s always something to look forward to. So the good people at Pyjama Party Liverpool came up with this:
”One simple idea: giving new pyjamas to children who will be homeless or in need this Christmas”
The project, which delivers the nightwear to vulnerable children across Liverpool and Merseyside, aims to collect new pyjamas for babies to teenagers, with more and more collection points popping up each year.
Ash from Pyjama Party Liverpool told me:
“It was my Mum’s idea to get family and friends involved and donate to a local hostel. However, the support we received was greater than we ever expected. Last year we received over 3,000 pairs of cosy, new pyjamas!”
Ash and the team distributed the PJs to a number of services that work with children who are homeless or in need at Christmas – hostels, shelters, refuges, social services, children’s centres and those living in residential care.
“Due to the high number of pyjamas we received last year we were able to cover services across Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, Halton, St Helens, and West Lancashire”
I’ve worked on similar multi agency projects in another city in the past – with police, children’s social services, and charities – and I’ve heard first hand some of the desperate situations children find themselves in through no fault of their own.
Some of the children were in hospital over Christmas but their hopeless parents couldn’t (or sadly wouldn’t) visit them, others didn’t have a very merry Christmas because their parents were compelled to spend their money on their own addictions rather than a Christmas tree or presents. I spoke to police officers who called round with Christmas trees after their shift, and social workers who gave presents meant for their own kids. It’s a far cry from my own childhood or our family experience today.
With ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ being quite a stressful and frought time for even the happiest of families, relationship breakdowns and domestic violence can result in children going to live in refuges or hostels. Even the most loving and well-meaning parent can find themselves struggling to sort out bank accounts or benefits in frantic situations like these.
What I love about this project is it’s about restoring some normality to children, and all kids deserve treats at Christmas. It’s the same reason I always think it’s nice to put chocolate biscuits in the Foodbank – the emphasis is always on staple sensible foods but if I relied on Foodbanks I’d like to be able to give my kids a treat after school like anyone else.
If you’d like to donate (and even if you don’t live in Merseyside you can send donations by post – or perhaps this will inspire you to set up your own Pyjama Party where you live) then check out the Pyjama Party Liverpool Facebook page for up to date information on collection points.
Maybe you could do a joint collection in work instead of the nerve wracking Secret Santa, or amongst the adults in your family (if, like me, you’ve long since decided just to “buy for the kids”!), or just pop another pair in the basket when you’re buying for the children in your own life.
The deadline is 15th December so let’s see if we can beat 3,000 pairs for vulnerable kids this year. After all, it’s the law that you have to have new PJs on Christmas Eve.