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Babies Give Homeless Boost This Christmas

Abbie Moffatt, Courtney Meredith and Lauren Hassell with babies from Chestnut House Day Nursery and their reverse advent calendar box.

A reverse advent calendar has been set up by a group of nursery workers with the help of babies and their parents this December.

In the run-up to the festive period, the staff at Chestnut House, in Saughall, Chester were keen to put their thoughts to those who face Christmas without a home in Chester.

Lead by deputy manager Lauren Hassall, from Deeside, North Wales, the dedicated team has set up a ‘reverse advent calendar’ which encourages donations of vital items such as toiletries and non-perishable food, which they will then hand over before Christmas to Chester Aid to the Homeless (CATH).

Lauren, who developed the idea alongside colleagues Abbie Moffatt and Courtney Meredith, both from Deeside, said: “We wanted to find a way to get Chestnut House babies and their parents involved in something with goodwill over the festive period, and we did lots of research about organisations that may need our support, especially at this time of year. CATH do fantastic work with the homeless in the city Chestnut House calls it’s home, so it felt right and fitting to help those without a home this Christmas.”

The 0-2 room operated alongside a 2-3 room and a fully-funded pre-school at Chestnut House, which has been a child care provider in the rural Chester village for more than a decade.

As well as the current Christmas drive for donations, the team at Chestnut House support a range of charities throughout the year, alongside their sister nursery Ash Tree Day Nursery, situated on Blacon Point Road, including Stick ’n’ Step (Wirral-based Cerebral Palsy charity) and Diabetes UK.

For the reverse advent this month, staff will take one of the 16 children and the tinsel decorated Advent Box and place a few items from the donation station in it each day, as part of the reverse ritual.

Lauren added: “It’s great to teach children, even from a very young age, about giving. The kids have been really excited about it, but we’ve definitely had lots of enthusiasm from our parents and carers – we have cleared the donation table three times already! It’s really taken off and we really hope we can make a positive impact on the homeless community in the city at this important time of year.”

Robert Bisset, from CATH, said: “CATH is delighted to be supported by the Chestnut House Day Nursery through its reverse advent calendar initiative. The charity relies heavily on community-based organisations for help and support and this is a super idea to attract much-needed donations. On behalf of the homeless community in Chester, we offer a big thank you for a job well done.”

Anyone in Saughall and the surrounding areas who would like to donate, please drop in your goods to the nursery on Church Road (CH1 6EN), between 8am-6pm Monday to Friday.