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Last year, many of the 25,000 people St Giles Trust helped were experiencing dire poverty and struggling on with nowhere to turn to until we intervened. 13-year old Stella* was one of them. She had stopped attending school and started self-harming because she was being bullied by other pupils due to her old clothes.
Things weren’t any better at home - Stella’s Mum was struggling with debt and threatened with eviction. Too scared to tell anyone, the family had resorted to selling their possessions to survive. They were sleeping on mattresses on the floor of their tiny flat and living off takeaways because they couldn’t afford a cooker. The situation was becoming increasingly desperate.
We helped Stella move to a new school – away from the bullies - and bought her a new uniform. We helped Mum take control of her debts, ensuring the family did not become homeless. She was one of the 5,635 people in housing need we helped last year. We applied for emergency funds so Mum could get the family two new beds and a cooker. St Giles Trust helped 1,041 people apply for crisis funds last year - something which has increased sharply over recent years due to the levels of severe financial hardship our clients are experiencing.
Stella is now happier, doing well in her new school and no longer self-harming. She is getting the support she needs from her Mum who is now coping much better. Our next step is to help Mum find employment and join the 795 people St Giles Trust assisted into work last year.
Christmas is a time for coming together. But without St Giles Trust’s intervention Stella could have been taken into care and the family would have been broken apart by debts and poverty. With your support this Christmas, we can help more people like Stella and her Mum stay together and have a happy future.
We rely on donations to help us continue our work year-round. You can donate securely online here or send a cheque made payable to 'St Giles Trust' to: Fundraising Team, St Giles Trust, 64-68 Camberwell Church Street, London SE5 8JB.
A huge thank you for your support and a very Merry Christmas from all of us at St Giles Trust.
*Stella’s name has been changed to protect her identity.