52 Lives

#219 Homeless children

Request: Waterproofs / Welly Boots and Socks / Coats / Donations / Messages

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." 

What We Need

1. Waterproofs: We have put clothes and rain covers for prams on an Amazon wishlist. To buy an item, please click the link below. The items will be sent directly to The Magpie Project to give to the mums who need them.

2. Donations: We can get a good deal on coats and wellies from some other stores. Your donations wlll be used to buy these items. Any funds raised above what is needed for these will be used to help the children other ways.

3. Messages: To send a kind message to one of the mums, please write it in the form below and we'll pass it along (your contact details will not be passed along) or you can post it to: 52 Lives, PO Box 3154, Reading, RG1 9AT.



What We Did

The response was absolutely incredible. I couldn't add items to the wishlist fast enough, and the donations poured in! Thanks to all of you, we sent them thousands of pounds worth of brand new coats, warm trousers, wellies, and waterproof dungarees. Most of these children have never worn anything new, so to have their very own warm winter clothes is very special.

Thank you so much to everyone who made a donation, bought something from the wishlist, sent a gift, or wrote a kind message. There are too many of you to thank individually, but please know that you have made winter a much cosier one for these children.

Also, the messages you sent for the homeless mums have been turned into beautiful printed keepsakes by The Magpie Project - they wanted them to have a constant reminder that they are not alone.