Christmas is well on the way, and every shop window is piled high with beautiful gifts or sumptuous food.
Many children will be looking forward to opening up a sack full of brightly wrapped presents this year, in a warm home home lit with Christmas tree lights and laughter.
They will sit down with their families and eat until they are full and sleepy, and even then they will be able to find a little room to tuck into their brand new selection boxes.
Last week @L6Centre we started getting down Xmas decorations we placed The Santa post box in the cafe until grotto is set up , Today I went into to @L6Centre to sort food parcels for residents while passing post box I looked in it !! Just read a 7 yrs old letter Vote Labour pic.twitter.com/HgUBjkXj3C
— Gerard Woodhouse (@GerardWoodhous1) November 17, 2019
This is how Christmas should be for kids. It should be a dreamy, idyllic and magical day they will look back on in adulthood and smile.
However, for many children across the UK, this just isn’t the reality. Faced with concerns they are far too young to deal with, Christmas can be a time of real struggle for many youngsters living in dire poverty.
This less discussed childhood Christmas has been illustrated with a heartbreaking letter to Santa, penned by a seven-year-old girl who hasn’t given up hope that Father Christmas can make dreams come true.
Rather than ask for a lengthy list of the latest toys and gadgets, this little girl simply asked for ‘a home’ and ‘some food’ for Christmas:
Dear Father Christmas, can you help.
Can we have a home for Christmas. Mam wants us to be all together can you give us some food and can I have just [a] nice doll for Christmas. Thank you.
A child asking Santa for a home and some food. 21st Century UK, rolling back the centuries.
— teaceeme (@teaceeme) November 17, 2019
The unnamed child posted the letter into a Santa post box at the Liverpool 6 Community Centre, an Everton based community centre that provides ‘practical support and opportunities to socialise’.
The letter has since been shared by the Labour Councillor for Liverpool County Ward, Gerard Woodhouse, who used the heart-wrenching plea to draw attention to the plight of child poverty in the UK.
In the tweet, Mr Woodhouse wrote:
Last week @L6Centre we started getting down Xmas decorations we placed The Santa post box in the cafe until grotto is set up,
Today I went into to @L6Centre to sort food parcels for residents while passing post box I looked in it !! Just read a 7 yrs old letter Vote Labour.
The sweet innocence of a child believing that santa can help. Heartbreaking 😢
Why did we let it get this far?
— Amanda Nicolson (@amanda_nicolson) November 17, 2019
Speaking with the Liverpool Echo, Mr Woodhouse said the letter reflected the reality of many struggling families across Merseyside:
No wonder young people have mental health problems, it’s just so sad. Unfortunately it is what we see at the L6 centre. This is just one of many that we’re going to see from now until Christmas.
The Liverpool 6 Community Centre team are reportedly working hard to help the family in question with everyday needs such as shelter and food.
Sadly, Mr Woodhouse believes the number of referrals to the centre will have risen from last year, and has begun a fundraiser to help those who will be unable to make ends meet this Christmas.
You can donate to the fundraiser for yourself here.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.