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Change a child’s life

With your support, we can make it happen

T

hirteen is a very lucky number! Why? Well, that’s how many years Boots has been working in partnership with BBC Children in Need to raise funds (£8.5 million so far… whoop!) and awareness to help some of the most disadvantaged children in the UK. To find out about the various ways your generous donations have made a difference, we spoke to a family who’ve benefited, along with a few of the volunteers from Boots who’ve done their bit for local charities, too. It’s truly inspiring stuff…

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    ‘THIS IS OUR FAMILY'S LIFELINE'

    Depaul’s Cloverhill service in Belfast provides support and accommodation for vulnerable homeless families. BBC Children in Need funds a child support worker, who works with children on a one-to-one basis, offering counselling and activities to help build their confidence. We spoke to Charlie*, 11, and his mum Sarah*, 35, who moved here recently after a major family trauma, to find out how the charity has helped them.

     

    Tell us about the staff at Depaul’s Cloverhill…

    Charlie: ‘Jess* [Charlie’s support worker] plays games with me and takes our family on days out. She looks after us.’

    What kind of activities do you do?

    Charlie: ‘Swimming, walking along nature trails, painting – and I made a T-shirt!’

    What about story time…

    Charlie: I read Diary Of A Wimpy Kid books by myself. I really love them.’

    What’s your favourite thing about being here?

    Charlie: ‘Playing with my friends!’

    What do you play with your friends?

    Charlie: ‘We play kings and battles and build castles. I’m one of the oldest children, so I help out looking after the little ones.’

    Why did you move to Cloverhill?

    Sarah: ‘We moved here after Charlie’s dad died. The support network helps us feel safe, and being around other children makes it easier for Charlie and his siblings.’

    What support have you received?

    Sarah: ‘We have counselling sessions and there are different activities every week, such as cooking lessons and museum trips.’

    What would’ve happened if Cloverhill hadn’t been there for you?

    Sarah: ‘We’d have been on our own and things could’ve gone downhill.’

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    ‘HOW WE'RE DOING OUR BIT'

    Read about the ways Boots staffers have been getting involved – including a Santa-style delivery

     

    Sharing the knowledge

    Joanne Kane is a pharmacist at the Castle Court store in Belfast.

    ‘I first visited Depaul’s Cloverhill to chat to the children about dental health. To make it fun, we did a quiz – they had to guess how much sugar was in their favourite drinks (cue gasps!). We’ve also run workshops for mums on things such as chickenpox, measles and nappy rash. It gives them confidence; often, they’re looking after children on their own. I’ve talked about anxiety and sleeplessness, too, as lots of mums are dealing with these issues. It gives them the skills to help them cope better.’

     

    A Christmas miracle!

    Michael McMillan is a former store manager at Coatbridge Main Street store in Glasgow. The store has a great partnership with Elutheria – The Safety Zone, a fun place for local children to hang out. Drug and alcohol abuse is a big concern in this part of the city, so the centre helps to keep children safe. Boots volunteers support youth workers, provide decorations and games for seasonal events such as Halloween parties, and help fund building improvements.

     

    ‘Last year, we donated gift-filled shoeboxes to the children at Elutheria – The Safety Zone,’ explains Michael. ‘Amazingly, we got 230 parcels from Boots stores across the region, with things like toys, chocolate and even jewellery inside. When we delivered them, I felt like Santa – but instead of a sleigh we were in a four-by-four! The kids’ smiles and utter delight made it all so worthwhile.’

     

    Putting the ‘fun’ into fundraising

    Emma Hodnett is a former manager at Wrexham Plas Coch Retail Park store. The staff there raised money for Groundworks, a charity in north Wales that works alongside local communities, public bodies and private companies to support those in need. It runs lots of projects focused on young people, but its Pedal Power scheme is one that Boots colleagues were particularly keen to help out with.

     

    ‘On St David’s Day, we organised a charity day in store to raise money for Groundworks,’ says Emma. ‘There was a cake sale, treasure hunt and make-up makeovers – Pudsey himself even paid us a visit! I really wanted to highlight the Pedal Power project. This part of the charity funds adapted bikes for disabled children, so they’re able to do things able-bodied kids take for granted, such as riding around the park with their families.

     

    ‘Groundworks came to the store with the special bikes to show people how their money helps. It really brought home just how much the charity needs donations from BBC Children in Need.’

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The ‘Bear’ facts

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Bet you didn’t know this about BBC Children in Need…

 

 The origin of Pudsey

The famous bear is named after the West Yorkshire town where his creator, BBC designer Joanna Ball, was born.

 

1927

On Christmas Day of this year, the BBC’s first-ever radio appeal for children was broadcast.

 

2,400

The number of projects that Boots’ donations have helped to fund so far.   

 

Over 800m

That’s the figure raised since the first major BBC Children in Need appeal in 1980. Seriously wow!

 

Boing!

Don’t forget to head in store to find out more about Boots’ BBC Children in Need fundraising campaign (see our Jump For Pudsey story on our news page), to buy merchandise and discover other ways to donate.

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*Names have been changed. †Registered charity, England and Wales 802052; Scotland SC039557.

Interviews Charlotte Grant-West Photography Getty Images

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