Schoolgirl’s fundraising gives young homeless a Christmas
published on 21 Nov 2023
Schoolgirl walks dogs to raise money to give homeless a Christmas to remember
A Rishton schoolgirl has combined her passion for dogs and determination to raise funds for a homeless hostel for young people, giving them a Christmas to remember.
Ella, eight, took to the pavements to walk family, friends’ and neighbours’ dogs to raise money for The Salvation Army’s Lifehouse (hostel) in Accrington, Crossroads, which houses young people aged 16 – 21 offering tailor-made support to prepare residents for independent living.
Ella donated £100 to Crossroads Lifehouse which will be put towards festive fun such as ice skating, Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and gifts over Christmas for residents.
Crossroads Manager Samantha Harrison accepted the donation from Ella in person at the Lifehouse, giving her a tour of the building which many homeless youngsters now call home. Samantha said: “Homelessness does not just affect adults. Our young residents often have outgrown children’s homes, foster families or are displaced with no family connections.
“The Salvation Army is their family now and we want this time of year to be fun; there is no reason why these young people shouldn’t have an enjoyable and loving Christmas despite the struggles they are coping with and overcoming every day.
“Ella’s incredibly kind contribution will go a long way to providing each of our residents with a bit of normality and a lot of love, knowing that people do care and that they do matter.”
Residents at Crossroads, located on Empress Street, Accrington, are referred from Lancashire County Council and assigned a support worker on the first day of living at the Lifehouse with the aim to move onto independent living within two years of arriving.
Ella’s mum, Kerry Marie, fully supports Ella’s fundraising work and isn’t surprised by her need to support people who are homeless. Kerry Marie said: “She has always been a caring person, kind-hearted with a big need to help and think of others. When we asked her where she wanted the money raised to go, she said homeless people straight away, adding that everyone deserves a home, and a life. We couldn’t be prouder.”
Ella also organised a Teddy Tombola, where she raffled her family’s pre-loved soft toys to raise funds with the money also donated to Crossroads.
For people wishing to support Ella in her fundraising work a Go Fund Me page has been created www.gofundme.com/ellas-dog-walks-for-crossroads-accrington.
Crossroads Lifehouse has five bedrooms with communal living as well as six self-contained flats where residents are supported by The Salvation Army to develop their independence in a variety of ways such as living independently, being part of the community and cooking on a budget.