Christian charity offers Christmas support as crisis hits England

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The cost-of-living doesn’t have to ruin Christmas – that’s the message from Spurgeons Children’s Charity as it launches a new resource packed with tips to help families thrive, not just survive, the holiday.

With almost one in three children in the UK living in poverty, Spurgeons has seen a rise in the uptake of its services as the effect of the soaring living costs come into force. The crisis is aggravating existing financial burden of Christmas and the pressure to meet unrealistic ideals, typical of the season, is expected to pose serious risk to the mental health of families. Through ‘Every Family: 12 Days of Christmas’ campaign, the charity seeks to support families to navigate the complexities of family life during the festive season.

CEO of Spurgeons Children’s charity, Ian Soars, says, “We have seen parents weighed down by the pressure to create a positive family environment for their children and this has been reflected in the rise of those needing our support. Every day our teams meet families struggling to cope with both the practical and the emotional impact of this current crisis, and in the lead up to Christmas this is only intensifying. Every parent wants to make Christmas special for their children and we want to support and equip families to mark the season well within their means, to make memories, prioritising connection with each other and to take valuable steps to protect their wellbeing.”

The resource will launch 1st December and include daily expert advice from qualified counsellors and parent support workers for the first 12 days of December. Some of the topics include talking to children about the uncertainty in the world, managing stress and overwhelm, and free or low-cost festive activities.

The resource is just one of a large number of tools and support services available to families who need support. Spurgeons also partner with a number of local churches to create Family Hubs, where advice and support is given to all who visit.

Craig Prentice, Team Leader of Thanet Community Churches and ‘The Corner’ a Ramsgate-based family hub run in partnership with the charity, says:

“’Heat or eat’ is not only a newspaper headline, but also a daily reality for the people we’re helping. The fear, concern and rising stress levels among parents are affecting every relationship including marriages, partnerships and, with the children.

“In the lead up to Christmas, we’re sold a perfect scenario of a big spread of food on the table, elaborate gift giving and snow falling outside. We see families coming under the pressure to somehow meet these expectations, but our advice is to turn down the volume of those expectations and to focus on what’s most important. Our children need our time more than they need our money.”

For families needing support and to sign up to receive the ’12 days of Christmas’ resource, visit: www.everyfamily.spurgeons.org