Blackburne House raise a smile for students this Christmas

Christmastime is the season of good will, and that is certainly true at Blackburne House this December as a number of organisations partner to donate hampers and gifts to disadvantaged students.

Blackburne House, one of the country’s leading centres for women’s education, have worked with thousands of women over their 32 year history to empower them and prepare them for the world of work.

Blackburne House Education was established in 1983 with the aim of attracting low paid or unemployed women and equip them with the skills and qualifications to progress into employment were women are noticeably under-represented.

Today, Blackburne House work with hundreds of women each year from varied backgrounds, a number of whom are living below the poverty line.

Head of learning at Blackburne House, Maura Cummins said:

“It is a sad fact that so many of the women we work with at Blackburne House are from challenging or disadvantaged backgrounds – single mums, young people from low-income homes and many with personal and emotional issues.

“Christmas can be a very difficult time for a lot of people and each year we try to help as many of our women through the season as best we can. With the help of some of our partner organisations, we have put together one hundred hampers containing much needed things help to prepare for the festive period.

“Store cupboard essentials, tinned goods, toiletries, blankets and gloves are just some of the things that might be included, along with some treats and goodies as a nod to the season.

“But we couldn’t do any of this without the help of so many of our partner organisations. We can’t thank those who have donated enough for their kindness and generosity in helping us to help so many.”

The organisations who donated to this year’s Blackburne House student hamper campaign include Ernst & Young, Fusion 21, The Sure Group and MSB Solicitors.

Emma Carey, family partner at MSB Solicitors said:

“MSB are incredibly proud to work with an organisation like Blackburne House who do so much, not just at Christmas time, but throughout the year to support and empower young women from our communities, many of whom face adversity.

“Contributing to the Christmas hamper campaign was just one small way that we could get involved and help out and of course we were very, very happy to. Our team really pulled together and we were able to donate five bags filled with packet and tinned food, toothpaste and chocolates and sweets – small things that we so often take for granted but that could bring just a little bit of joy or some reprieve to women who are having a difficult time of it.”

CEO at Blackburne House, Claire Dove added:

“I find it incredibly disheartening that at this stage in my career, more women than ever are reliant on food banks and charitable donations to see them through the Christmas period and beyond.

“How sad it is to think, that in a world where so many of us have so much, there are still thousands of people with so little – or, in fact, nothing at all.

“But it is not difficult to see why. In times of austerity, women face what has been referred to as a ‘triple jeopardy’. It is women who are hit hardest by cuts to public sector jobs, wages and pensions; women who face challenges in light of continued cuts to services and benefits and often women who are left filling the gaps when those services are withdrawn.

“Couple this with the fact that 64 per cent of low paid workers are women and 92 per cent of lone parents are more likely to be living below the poverty line and it begins to paint a very bleak picture for women in the UK.

“Our hampers do not mark the end of those challenges, they don’t even begin to touch the surface in terms of tackling a very real problem, but it does mean that during a short time when many of us will indulge in the delights of the season, we can perhaps put some food on the tables of those with very little.”

Blackburne House is a Grade II Listed building based in Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter and is home to Blackburne House Education, which offers a wide range of educational programmes for women; the School for Social Entrepreneurs North West; and a number of award winning social enterprises including the cafe bar, health suite, nursery, conference and events centre and female maintenance business.

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