For most, Christmas will be a time to spend time with loved ones and enjoy some time away from the stresses of everyday life. For others in Sheffield Christmas can heap more pressure on families who may be already struggling.
Families Together work with households across Sheffield who are going through crisis and are at risk of being separated. Families Together provide support by creating structure and assistance to these families and as a result 98% of families we have worked with stayed together following our intervention.
Christmas can be an especially difficult time of year for these families. Josh's story highlights the typical issues some of our familys' face:
Josh lives with his mum, dad and three younger siblings; they have had a particularly tough year this year with mounting debt and the struggles of Universal Credit have taken their toll on the family.
Josh's mum suffers from anxiety and depression and often struggles to cope with looking after Josh's infant siblings whilst keeping on top of day-to-day chores. The family's income does not often meet their outgoing spending on rent, food and rising energy costs and they doubt they will be able to have the heating on over the Christmas period.
The stress and worry has had a distinct on Josh. His confidence and self-esteem are low, he avoids school at all costs and he struggles to connect with his friends and peers and he is starting to feel lonely and isolated.
Families Together's aim over the festive period is to help families like Josh's to have an enjoyable Christmas and create some positive memories. Money raised will help houses feel like home and the support will go towards purchasing items such as winter coats, bedding as well as providing respite care for young people like Josh.
Click here to listen to family's Christmas wishes and see how you could help support a family in Sheffield struggling at Christmas.