New pyjamas on Christmas Eve are as much a part of a Liverpool Christmas tradition as turkey, crackers and falling asleep in front of the Queen’s Speech. Snuggling into bed on Christmas Eve in a cosy new pair is a festive tradition that is so loved in childhood that it is often continued into adulthood. Yet thousands of underprivileged and homeless children go without each year.
This year employees of John Mason International have donated over 50 pairs of new pyjamas as part of a community-led appeal. Pyjama Party Liverpool was set up in 2013 by mother and daughter Karen and Ashleigh Downing to collect pyjamas for Merseyside children who are homeless or in need.
Karen, 49, who lives in Woolton,Liverpool started the campaign after reading a Facebook post by homeless charity Shelter, which said across the UK there would be 80,000 homeless children on Christmas Eve in 2013.
She said: “Last year that number had grown to 131,000 kids. Only one kid being homeless on Christmas is awful. “I thought, I need to do something to help. she sat down with a friend and together they came up with the idea of Pyjama Party Liverpool. That first year, they collected 1,000 pairs, which last year grew to 4,218 – a number that is etched on the mind of Karen’s daughter Ashleigh, 31, who now helps her mum promote, collect, bag and deliver the pyjamas to organisations across Merseyside.”
The campaign has graduated from the living room to a large empty unit in a shopping centre. For privacy reasons, Karen and Ashleigh never get to see the children they collect pyjamas for, but they are delighted by the messages of thanks they receive. Karen said: “We get messages saying ‘The kids are all snuggled up in their pyjamas and are watching a Christmas film. Christmas pyjamas are only a small thing but it makes a big difference to the kids knowing that someone has done something nice for them.”
Simon Hood, Director at John Mason International said: “The staff at John Mason International continue to show their goodwill and charitable spirit by getting behind and supporting this wonderful campaign. Christmas pyjamas are a Liverpool tradition. It’s heartbreaking to think of the thousands of children who go without at this special time of year. When we all learnt about the brilliant work Karen and Ashleigh do for the community we wanted to get involved.”
For more information about the campaign visit: https://www.facebook.com/PyjamaPartyLiv