Over 230 children across the North West of England have been gifted a chance at a brighter holiday season this year. Vouchers were sent to schools and non-profit organisations in Manchester, Liverpool, Bolton, Blackpool, Stoke-on-Trent, and Birmingham.

In the UK, 4.3million children – 29% of all children in the country – are living below the poverty line. As the cost-of-living crisis goes on, this number is only set to rise. With families struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table, Variety, the Children’s Charity has stepped in to give £15,000 worth of vouchers to disadvantaged families throughout the North West.

We have provided 98 families with vouchers this holiday season as part of our campaign to gift a lifetime of joy this Christmas. Each voucher will help ease the financial pressures brought on not only by Christmas, but by rising food and energy prices over Winter.

One parent said:

My husband and I are really overwhelmed with this. We are really struggling to buy food and we have both recently been diagnosed with cancer. We are going to try to make this Christmas special.

Another said:

I might not have to go to the Food Bank this Christmas. Thank you!

Natalie Cottrill, Assistant Headteacher of Chatsworth High School and Community College in Salford, said:

The generosity of Variety, the Children’s Charity and their sponsors really means the world to the families and a simple thank you is definitely not enough! Tears have been brought to many families’ eyes: the relief they exhibited when told about the vouchers has been immense and something I am grateful to be a part of, just by letting them know help is available for this time of year.

Liz Kelso, Child and Family Support Manager at Park Community Academy in Blackpool, said:

The vouchers will make a considerable difference to our families over the Christmas period.  This year, with the rising cost of living, we have seen an increase in the number of families accessing support from our family team around budgeting and finance and there are many families who would have had little or nothing to open on Christmas Day.

Lyn Staunton, Development Director of the North West for Variety, the Children’s Charity, said:

Thanks to our incredible sponsors, Variety provided vouchers that allowed families to purchase gifts and food for their Christmas celebrations. These vouchers have made an incredible impact on their lives, enabling them to experience the joy and excitement of the holiday season like never before. 

Reading personal quotes from each family on how the vouchers have changed their Christmas has filled us with so much joy. We know that this was only possible because of the extremely kind donations we received from our supporters. We thank every one of you for your contributions and for helping us make a difference in the lives of so many disadvantaged families during this challenging time of the year.