Helping poor families at Christmas really gives a sense of that idea of goodwill to all during the festive season. We can try to help and get a feel good factor from doing so or like Scrooge before he became enlightened we can turn out backs on those who need just a little help. Does helping poor families at Christmas matter to you as you make your festive preparations?
Helping Poorer Families at Christmas
Stress at Christmas is common and particularly where a family has struggles whether financial or emotional.

Helping poor families at Christmas

I wanted to let you know about the Big Give Christmas Challenge – the UK’s biggest online match funding campaign.Every donation (up to £7,000) that my partner charity School-Home Support receive between noon on the 28th November and noon on the 5th of December will be matched by generous champions, including our friends at the Childhood Trust. This means that all of your donations are doubled, allowing the charity to reach twice as many families living in poverty. Today, four million children in the UK (an average of nine in every classroom) live in poverty, so there’s a lot of work to do!

Poverty in the UK

Living in poverty often means things your family take for granted like housing, food are unsuitable for children growing up. Many families cannot manage to afford school uniform and equipment to help with children’s education.  Milestones like growth that should be celebrated add yet more burdens as shoes are needed and extra-curricular activities that help a child to develop cannot be accessed.

Thankfully, this is where the School-Home Support Welfare Fund comes in.

Case-studies

James’ mum, Moji, was a motivated person who studied at University, before suffering leg and back injuries and subsequent deep depression. Unable to walk, let alone work, Moji and her children – James and his sister Favour – were living in poverty, housed in temporary accommodation (in a top floor flat with no lift, so she was unable to leave home for months at a time) with no proper furniture or clothing.
SHS Practitioner, Sevgi, realised that the family were in need of support. She used the SHS Welfare Fund to buy the children school uniforms and bags, proper beds to sleep in, transport to get to school, and items to make the home more accessible for Moji’s disability. Sevgi also helped the family to get rehoused in a more suitable accommodation and to access the benefits they were entitled to.
Sevgi and Moji’s hard work has paid off. James recently won a scholarship to attend football college and is on track to becoming a professional footballer. Sevgi has empowered Moji, so that going forwards she feels strong enough to find resolutions for the family herself. She recently applied for a scholarship for Favour to attend a private secondary school with board, as she’s doing very well at primary school.
Jackie lives with her four adult children and three grandchildren, Cameron, 12, Curtis, 11, and Kodi, 9.  Cameron, Curtis and Kodi were removed from their parents’ care after witnessing years of domestic violence, and the impact of this violence, as well as other issues including their grandmother’s alcoholism, meant that the boys had serious problems at school. Their attendance was low, their behaviour was poor and both police and social services were regularly involved with the family.
Our ‘Troubled Families’ senior practitioner Sam has helped to turn things around. Previously, the boys had tatty and incomplete school uniforms which singled them out for bullying. The SHS Welfare Fund was used to buy new uniforms which has boosted their self-esteem, and Sam visited their home each morning for a week to get them into a morning school routine. Within 12 weeks the boys’ attendance at school had dramatically improved. School attendance for all three boys is now 95%.
The boys’ behaviour at school was also a serious cause for concern with Cameron, the eldest, was being repeatedly excluded from his secondary school for violent behaviour. Sam spoke to the school and arranged for the boys to have mentors assigned, and also enrolled them on a course supporting children who have witnessed domestic violence. The programme has benefitted them enormously and their behaviour is now much improved.
Finally, Sam worked to build Jackie’s resilience so she could effectively parent the boys. She has given up drinking, has taken on some psychological support and now works as a midday assistant at a local primary school.
The police and social services haven’t been involved with the family since they met Sam.
Does helping poor families at Christmas matter to you? How do you go about supporting them?

Winnettes
Mummascribbles
Cuddle Fairy
Mum Muddling Through
The Pramshed
Post Comment Love

How to prepare for long car journeys might be on your mind as we hurtle towards the festive season where so many of us visit family and friends at a distance.

We can all be guilty of taking our cars for granted but need to consider taking extra care when we are planning a longer journey. Giving your car a good check before you go can pay dividends in the long rum.

Make sure the car is serviced, either as part of regular servicing or as a one-off. Look after your car and it should look after you.

Basic checks should be oil, water and washer fluid – ideally every week but certainly before you depart.

Check tyres for tread depth. The law requires a minimum of 1.6 mm throughout a continuous band comprising the central three-quarters of breadth of the tread. Be aware that if tyres reach the minimum their ability to grip the road will be reduced affecting braking and steering. Consider replacing tyres before they get to this stage. Check for uneven wear – it could be a symptom of a suspension problem.

Brakes should be checked. Many local servicing centres including Kwikfit.com offer free safety checks and will advise if discs or pads need replacement.

Check windscreen and all glass for scratches or other damage. Any chips in the wiper swept area are a potential MoT failure and should be repaired, possibly free of charge through your insurance policy. Make sure the screen and windows are clean and that washers/wipers are working correctly.

All lights fitted to a vehicle must be working. Many suppliers can provide a set of spare bulbs specific to your model. Check headlamp alignment to ensure that you have the best vision without dazzling oncoming traffic. If you are to tow a trailer or caravan you must also check the lights every time you attach to the tow bar.

Finally make sure you have things that will keep you warm from blankets to flasks. I always ensure we have a comprehensive first aid kit in the car and if traveling with children, make sure you have some activities that will keep them entertained to avoid the “Are we nearly there?” saga.

Check out #CarSafetyChecklist on social media for more tips.

Safe journey and happy holidays!

Five Little Doves

Do you need to cater for gluten-free eaters this Christmas? Here’s an easy gluten-free Christmas cake recipe.

A great Christmas cake is rich, moist, and full of festive flavours, and this version definitely hits the spot. In fact, it just might become a new family favourite!

Gluten-free Christmas Cake Recipe

Preparation time

5 minutes the night before, 30 minutes on the day

Cooking time:

2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 200g raisins
  • 200g currants
  • 200g stoned prunes, chopped
  • 200g mixed peel
  • 200g dried cranberries
  • 40g candied fruit
  • 140g glace cherries
  • 125ml dark rum
  • 125ml port
  • 250g unsalted butter + some extra to grease the tin
  • 250 g gluten-free plain flour + some extra
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg (or grate it fresh)
  • 300g dark brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs

 

Icing:

  • 700g icing sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

 

Method
  1. Combine the chopped prunes in a large bowl with all the other dried fruit and berries. Pour half the rum and half the port over and leave to soak overnight.
  2. When you come to make the cake, preheat the oven to 150°C/300ºF/gas 2.
  3. For the cake, sift the gluten free flour, allspice and nutmeg into a large bowl.
  4. In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Crack the eggs in one at a time and beat. Stir in the soaked fruit and any excess juices.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture until everything is combined evenly.
  6. Grease a 26m spring form cake tin with butter, sprinkle some flour around the inside of the tin, then tip out excess flour. Spoon the cake mixture in.
  7. Bake for around 2 hours at 150˚C until golden brown. Remove from oven and poke holes through the top with a skewer.
  8. Combine the remaining port and rum together and pour over the cake while it’s still warm. Leave to cool.
  9. Prepare the icing by separating the egg whites and whisking them in a large bowl until frothy. Sift the icing sugar into another bowl then add the egg whites a spoonful at a time, mixing as you go. Stir in the lemon juice and beat the mixture until it forms stiff peaks.
  10. Place the cooled cake on a plate and decorate with the icing. For a smooth finish, use a palette knife to spread it over the top and sides. For peaks, use the knife to create texture. Leave the icing to harden before adding extra decorations or a ribbon.
  11. Serve it to your gluten-free guests or package it up as a gift. Enjoy!

Check out some more healthy Christmas recipes and ideas for treats.

Let me know if you try out this gluten-free Christmas cake recipe?

Easy Gluten-Free Christmas Cake Recipe

 

Post Comment Love

This Mama

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div align=”center”>My Random Musings

Cuddle Fairy

Turkey burgers are a healthy way to eat burgers and this turkey burgers recipe gives them a fruity twist.

Turkey Burgers Recipe

Celebrate special occasions by serving these tasty turkey burgers either as canapés, or as quarter pounders, with plenty of cranberry crunch and lashings of cranberry sauce to sink your teeth into.

Turkey burgers recipe

Makes 4 large burgers or 10 canapé size burgers

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

For the burgers

500g turkey mince

2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

100g rolled oats

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tbsps parsley, finely chopped

Oil

For the cranberry and pecan sauce

250g fresh cranberries

100ml maple syrup

Juice and grated zest 1 orange

25g pecans

To serve

4 large baps or 10 mini rolls

Mayonnaise

Lettuce

What to do:

Place all the ingredients for the burgers into a large bowl, mix together and press into either four large patties or 10 small ones. Place on a tray and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

Place the cranberries, maple syrup and orange juice and zest into a saucepan, bring to a simmer and cook until softened and syrupy, then add the pecans.

Cook the burgers either in a griddle or frying pan in a little oil, over a medium heat for approximately 10-12 minutes each side for the large ones and 5-7 minutes for the small. Make sure to check they are cooked through and piping hot.

Serve in warm baps or mini rolls spread with mayonnaise, topped with a little lettuce and a good spoonful of the cranberry and pecan sauce.

Cooks Tip: To make a version from left-over turkey simply chop or mince left over dark and white cooked Turkey meat, add some breadcrumbs and a beaten egg or a little mayonnaise to bind, form into patties and fry until golden and piping hot. Serve as above with the cranberry and pecan sauce.

 

http://berryworld.com/recipes/

Roast turkey is delicious and the addition of shallot stuffing with fresh sage makes it sensational especially at Christmas.

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You’ll need:

5kg free-range Totally Traditional Turkey

4 tbsp rapeseed oil

Sea salt and black pepper

 

For the stuffing:

75g butter

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

8 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

250g dried figs, chopped into small cubes

2 small eating apples

250g fresh breadcrumbs

3 tbsp fresh sage leaves, chopped

750g sausage meat

3tbsp of parsley, chopped

1 large egg beaten

Sea salt and black pepper

 

What to do:

 

Preheat oven to 230°C/Gas Mark 8

 

Remove turkey giblets and reserve. Rinse the turkey inside and out and dry well.

Place the turkey in a large roasting pan, brush the turkey generously with rapeseed oil and season with sea salt and black pepper and cover with foil.

 

Place the prepared turkey in the pre-heated oven and cook at this temperature for the first 30 minutes. Then, lower the oven temperature to 180°C/Gas Mark 4 and cook for approximately 30 minutes per kilo, basting every hour.

 

To prepare the stuffing, heat the butter and rapeseed oil until the butter has melted. Add the shallot and fry gently until well softened but not browned. Stir in the garlic and season well with sea salt and black pepper. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl, leave to cool.

 

Peel the apples, cut into quarters, remove the core and cut into small cubes. Mix the figs, apples, breadcrumbs, sage, sausage meat and parsley with the shallots, season well with sea salt and black pepper using clean hands and then mix in the beaten egg. The mixture should be quite firm, with wet hands, mould the stuffing into balls the size of a golf ball.

 

Place on a greased baking sheet and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Alternatively you can use the mixture to stuff an onion, per person, and place the rest of the mixture into an ovenproof dish to cook.

 

Take one small onion per person and peel, leaving the top of the onion intact and the base root in place. Peel and boil, whole, in salted boiling water for 8-10 minutes, until just soft, drain and cool in cold water. Drain and cut the top off the onion, about three quarters of the way up, so as to make a lid. Using a sharp knife, hollow out the onion and stuff with the stuffing mixture, replace the lid and brush all over with rape seed oil. Bake for 30-35 minutes in the oven alongside the turkey until cooked through and slightly caramelised.

 

When the turkey is approximately 35 minutes before the end of cooking, remove the foil, drain off any of the excess fat and cook for a further 35 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Transfer the turkey to a platter and cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes.

 

 

Serve the turkey carved with stuffing balls or stuffed onions and gravy.

 

Recipe supplied by www.totallytraditionalturkeys.com

How do you prepare your roast turkey? What are your favourite treats for the Christmas period?

Mummascribbles
Winnettes