A Scots charity has made a desperate appeal for children’s winter clothing amid a 200 percent surge in requests from families in the run up to Christmas.
AberNecessities, which provides support to children and disadvantaged families across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, is now providing about 100 children a week with essentials like clothing, bedding, nappies and toiletries.
Charity founder Danielle Flecher-Horn told the Record people in the region are struggling because of lost incomes through the pandemic, a £20 cut to Universal Credit if unemployed, rising fuel prices and higher costs over the festive period.
In a video appeal this week, Danielle said the region is in “crisis” and that the charity, which has helped over 6,000 children in the region since it started in March 2019, has just experienced a 200 percent week-on-week increase in demand for help.
She said: “It’s heartbreaking. I can not stress enough to you how worried I am by all of this. This is huge for Aberdeen if we have this number of children in need of basic winter clothing.
“There are a number of factors for the increase in demand. Christmas is just round the corner and it’s the most expensive time of year and we are still dealing with the Universal Credit situation and, while government bodies are looking at rectifying the situation it is only benefiting some people. For a lot of families we support, they are not in employment so we are still seeing a massive knock on effect for that.
“There’s also a huge rise in fuel prices and everything together is having a massive effect across the city, Aberdeenshire and the country.
“We now have over 100 children a week in need so you can imagine the amount of time and effort going into helping them. Numbers have tripled from the week prior.”
Danielle highlighted that although there is variance in levels of deprivation across the region, they are now seeing referrals from professionals - such as social workers or community nurses - for families in postcodes which they have never seen before.
The charity’s latest appeal is specific to children’s winter clothing.
Sought after items include vests, tops, jumpers, joggers, leggings, pyjamas, snowsuits, dressing gowns, slippers, jackets, hats, gloves, scarves and new pants. Children’s blankets and hot water bottles would also benefit.
Preloved items must be clean and in excellent condition, organised by gender and age. They can be dropped off or sent to Craigievar House, Howemoss Avenue, Kirkhill Industrial Estate, Dyce, Aberdeen, AB21 0GP.
As well as for warm winter clothes, the charity receives applications for Christmas Eve boxes.
The boxes contain items such as cosy pyjamas and socks, hot chocolate, games and books for families to bond over and enjoy.
And Danielle said in the video, shared on Facebook this week, that a third of pupils in one Aberdeen school will be receiving these boxes for Christmas.
She added: “We are desperate for these items. We simply can not keep up with the amount of applications versus stock depleting quickly.
“It’s devastating and heartbreaking to read about some of the stories coming from some families. The professionals we speak to say families are holding on by the skin of their teeth and are on their knees. We are asking for help and we are here for that.
“Aberdeen has been hit hugely by the pandemic but also the oil downturn which was devastating and people are still trying to get through that. It’s been a never ending cycle.”
In the wake of the pandemic, AberNecessities experienced a 900 percent increase in applications for items but provided them with the help of their volunteers, sponsors and the community.
The charity was founded in 2019, shortly after Danielle had her first child, when she noticed how expensive it was for parents to buy essentials like nappies and milk formula.
The charity has grown ever since and helps children of all ages - from newborns up to 18-year-olds - and supports pregnant mums with maternity bags containing essentials.
AberNecessities also experienced a 175 percent increase in domestic abuse cases in the wake of the pandemic and have helped those fleeing dangerous situations with clothing, blankets and other household items.
Anyone wanting to donate to AberNecessities can visit their JustGiving page HERE and more information on the charity’s work can be found in their video HERE.
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