A Facebook social media campaign by Wirral Chamber of Commerce has led to the YMCA Wirral and the Charles Thompson Mission receiving vital donations so they can offer support to homeless and rough sleepers over the winter months ahead.
Hundreds of rucksacks, sleeping bags, warm clothing, blankets, food and toiletry items were donated by businesses and individuals, collected at drop-off donation points at Egerton House, Pacific Road Business Hub, and The Lauries, were presented to the respective charities at a special presentation which took place at The Lauries in Birkenhead.
Paula Basnett, CEO of Wirral Chamber of Commerce was delighted with the response to the Rucksack Challenge, she said, “The business community has worked with us in generously donating what will be many life saving items for both YMCA Wirral and the Charles Thompson Mission in helping the homeless throughout the winter. We were overwhelmed by number of items collected, and the response shows that Wirral, its people, and its businesses have big hearts and great generosity. Can I offer the warmest thank you to everyone who has helped in making the Rucksack Challenge successful.”
Bernie Frost, Centre Manager at Charles Thompson Mission said, “We were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of donations made and the support Wirral Chamber of Commerce has offered. These donations will be so important in helping the people who really need it most at this time of year. It is heart warming to know that throughout Wirral there are many people who have shown that by taking part in the Rucksack Challenge they really care about helping those less fortunate than themselves.”
This view was echoed by Nigel Hughes, CEO, YMCA Wirral, who added, “We have had a relatively mild season, but suddenly we are now very conscious of the cold snap as we approach the Christmas period. If you can imagine trying to exist in this cold weather if you’re out on the streets or if you're living on very, very low means and struggling even to heat your home, then initiatives like this are so vitally important.
"I cannot thank the generosity of Wirral Chamber of Commerce and Wirral people, particularly the business sector, who have taken it to their hearts and supported this scheme. For the people we try to help 365 days of the year, this is something that will transform their winter period and, quite possibly their lives. It is fantastic that businesses and individuals, despite these times of austerity, have been so generous in making such donations.”
Staff and volunteers of YMCA Wirral will be on duty again this year at its Night Shelter – which has been operating since 2008 - trying to ensure that no one has to survive, or even die, on the streets, and also to provide hot meals and a warm place to stay over the Christmas period. On Friday 2nd December, an overnight sleep out has been organised to raise money and greater awareness for the Charles Thompson Mission when around 40 people will take part from 9pm to 8am the next day.