Royalty and a host of celebrities have thrown their weight behind HELLO!'s Home School Appeal to help Britain's most vulnerable children.
Last week Lady Frederick Windsor joined us to launch the urgent call to raise vital funds for the charity School-Home Support (SHS, registered charity in England and Wales No. 1084696), of which she is patron. Lady Frederick – the actress known professionally as Sophie Winkleman – told how disadvantaged children up and down the country are suffering hunger, cold and abuse in lockdown.
Over the past week her message, including a poignant video pleading for donations, has been shared by stars and fellow members of the royal family, who have lined up to back our campaign. Among them was Sarah, Duchess of York, who also posted her own video on Instagram, in which she said: "We have to really support these vulnerable children… we must give these children a chance."
WATCH: Sarah, Duchess of York backs appeal to help Britain's most vulnerable families
Sophie's sister, Strictly Come Dancing host Claudia Winkleman, shared the video with her Twitter followers, saying: "My brilliant sister is working with School-Home Support", while TV presenter Lorraine Kelly praised the campaign as a "terrific idea". Chef Jamie Oliver, himself a campaigner for better nutrition for children, also shared details of our appeal with his 8.5 million Instagram followers under the hashtag Charity Tuesday, while Canadian rocker and photographer Bryan Adams re-tweeted Sophie's video.
Also giving their backing were Sky News anchor Sarah-Jane Mee, presenter Helen Skelton, singer Natalie Rushdie, children's author Giles Paley-Phillips, reality TV star Lydia Bright, Kiss FM presenter Neev Spencer, nutritionist to the stars Gabriela Peacock and Zenouska Mowatt, granddaughter of the Queen's cousin Princess Alexandra.
Sarah has backed the campaign
SHS provides vital help to families struggling with money, housing, mental health and a range of other issues exacerbated by the pandemic. It has seen demand for its services quadruple during lockdown as schools close and many children lose their safe haven, as well as their access to education. The charity employs a network of trained practitioners, who have been carrying out doorstep visits to families during lockdown.
During the last school closures, SHS saw a seven-fold increase in the number of safeguarding referrals it had to make, 40% of which involved domestic violence; it urgently needs to hire more practitioners to expand its reach. Sophie tells us: "We are so very grateful to those who have donated vital funds to this emergency appeal. With the latest Government announcement confirming an extended lockdown, the protection and care of thousands of Britain's most vulnerable children has never been more vital. Please continue to spread the word and do your part in holding the hand of a scared, hungry and cold child."
Lady Frederick Windsor is patron of charity School-Home Support
A donation of £10 to our appeal could pay for a practitioner to make a doorstep visit; £56 could cover a month's electricity to keep a child and their family warm; £220 could fund a practitioner's phone for the year to make vital calls to families. Meanwhile £818 is the cost of keeping one child fully supported for the year to ensure they are accessing education and getting the best start in life.
Jaine Stannard, chief executive of SHS, tells HELLO!: "It's incredible to see so many people donating and supporting the campaign. Such overwhelming support and kindness during this latest lockdown is great – and it means we'll be able to help more families in need. There's still a way to go so if you can, please do donate. Every pound counts."