Just over a year ago, Julie and her three children fled their home in Newcastle to escape domestic violence.

On the Friday before Christmas, they moved into a cramped flat in Hill Court accommodation for the homeless. They had with them just two carrier bags full of possessions.

Our partner Children North East runs an Out of School Club for the children at Hill Court. They brought the family enough food, clothes and toys to see them through the weekend. They also organised family sessions for the three children. Meanwhile, Julie returned to the family home with the police to collect their belongings.

Julie felt guilty that her children were spending Christmas in a strange flat away from their dad. Staff were worried that she might go back home. But thanks to Children North East’s Giving Tree Appeal, they were able to provide the family with Christmas presents and a food hamper.

On Christmas Eve, staff even brought round the Christmas tree that had been up at the reception of their office at Rye Hill to help make Julie’s flat more festive.

Julie and her children stayed at Hill Court for almost three months. While the kids made good use of the Out of School Club, Julie was able to talk to staff and social workers about what she had been through. With their support, she began building a new life for herself and her children.

After the family moved out of Hill Court, Children North East stayed in touch until the children were settled into new schools and Julie and her youngest were using their local Children’s Centre.

Today, the children are no longer thought to be ‘at risk’. The youngest has started school. Julie is considering going back to college to pursue a career in childcare.

Thanks to our players, hundreds of people like Julie and her children are being given a fresh start each year. Together, we have raised over £345,000 for Children North East. That’s enough to support over 5,000 children and families.

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