A mum and daughter are on a mission to ensure thousands of vulnerable children go to bed with a new pair of pyjamas on Christmas Eve.

Karen and Ashleigh Downing from Woolton, are the organisers of Pyjama Party Liverpool, a community appeal supported by the ECHO.

For the past six years, people across Merseyside have come together to help local children who are homeless or otherwise in need, by donating thousands of pairs of pyjamas in time for Christmas Eve.

Last year, when the ECHO first backed the campaign, an incredible 10,400 pairs were collected.

But this year, Karen said the demand is even bigger due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 70 services offering to help.

Karen told the ECHO: "There's definitely been a bigger volume of requests this year.

"I think the need is going to be greater than ever this year because of the job losses and furlough.

"People who work in schools have noticed a rise in children who have specific and complex needs which have been exacerbated by covid restrictions and everything."

It's a Liverpool tradition to have a new pair of pyjamas on Christmas Eve and Karen said to think that vulnerable children are missing out on this "is heartbreaking."

Karen Downing who runs the Pyjama Party Liverpool campaign

Karen said: "Pyjamas represent warmth and comfort.

"It's about community and pulling together to make a difference to these kids on Christmas Day.

"Just to think of them going to bed on Christmas Eve not in a new pair of pyjamas is heartbreaking.

"Why shouldn't they be the same as everyone else?"

With the country in lockdown, there's the added challenge of how people can buy and hand over the pyjamas, with many of the usual drop-off points currently closed.

You can use the form below to make a donation to the appeal and the money will be used to buy pyjamas, which will be given to services that directly work with children and families in need.

Karen first started the campaign with a friend in 2013 after reading a Facebook post by homeless charity Shelter, which said 80,000 UK children would find themselves homeless on Christmas Eve.

Karen said: "Since then it's really grown. People just want to help.

"Christmas is a time when you count your blessings and think about how much you have and how much other people may not have and you want to do something to help."

"Everyone pulls together it's amazing.

"We are so grateful to everybody - the businesses, the business owners, the families, friends, the work groups. Over the years so many different people have helped and donated."

You can find the full list of drop-off points on the map below

Government figures released last month show that 98,300 UK households were living in temporary accommodation at the end of June 2020. That's an unprecedented rise of 7% in just three months.

This time last year, homeless charity Shelter revealed a child becomes homeless in Britain every eight minutes - a figure that will have since increased.

The deadline for donations has been brought forward to December 4 this year to allow time for the pyjamas to be quarantined before being handed out to the different services.

The deadline for donations made online is November 30.