This week, we’d like to help some homeless children in Newham, London.
Last week, I volunteered at The Magpie Project – a charity that helps homeless under 5’s in Newham. It’s hard to believe that homeless children exist in the UK – but there are 2000 homeless children aged under 5 in Newham alone (that’s not a typo – 2000!)
Some of the mums and children that come to this project are sleeping in hostels, some are given a tiny room in a house shared with 5 other families...and the less lucky ones are sleeping on the night bus or in a 24-hour McDonalds.
The Magpie Project is like a haven in this community...somewhere they can go to feel safe and supported, with no judgement or fear. They are given nappies, wipes, clothing, a hot lunch, as well as access to a range of children’s music and arts classes, and visits from specialists who work in child development, housing and immigration to give them the advice they need. Jane, who runs the project, said although they can’t fix the lack of accommodation, they can do their best to ensure that the children’s long-term well-being is not affected by this period of homelessness.
I volunteered alongside a team from Black Swan Financial Planning and one of the local mums. We sorted out dozens of bags of donated clothes and toys. They are given a lot of baby clothes, so what they desperately need is some warm, waterproof clothes for toddlers. One of the things The Magpie Project would love to do is take the children out in nature a bit more, but the mums are often quite reluctant for their kids to get messy as they have so few clothes.
With your help, we’d like to provide waterproofs and wellies, and some warm clothes for the winter. These children always have second hand clothes that are very well worn, a bit big, a bit small or just not quite right. So we’re ideally looking to give them new thing this week.
Something Jane said to me while I was there really summed up what 52 Lives is all about. She said: "These women are doubly poor - they are poor financially but they are also poor in social connections. They don't have the family and friends to give them a pram or a cot when they have a baby...or someone they can turn to help care for their children. Those social connections are actually worth thousands of pounds. And that is where the 52 Lives community comes in."