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Christmas hampers bring festive cheer to care leavers at Edge Hill University

December 20, 2022

Edge Hill University students who are care leavers, care experienced or estranged received special Christmas hampers this week.

This is the second year that Heather O’Brien from The Halle O’Brien CIC has generously donated hampers to our care leavers who stay on campus during the Christmas break. This year, more than 60 students will receive hampers to enjoy during the festive season.

The Halle O’Brien CIC was set up in 2020 in memory of Heather’s daughter. In 2019, Halle was halfway through her first year at Edge Hill studying towards a BA (Hons) English when she contracted Strep A and, subsequently, meningitis. Her family have since dedicated their time to improving education for other children and young people.

The charity has grown to include Halle’s Hub in Litherland, a community shop run by volunteers that takes in donations to sell at more affordable prices. Funds from this are then used to support projects to improve children’s academic and social development, when families might otherwise struggle with the cost of extracurricular activities.

Lily-Joy, a care experienced student from China who received a Christmas hamper, said: “It was such a lovely surprise. It made me feel cared for, the amount of effort involved to put a smile on our faces and made me feel recognised. I was really glad that I was able to receive one of the hampers.”

June Russell, Halle’s grandmother and manager of Halle’s Hub, said: “As a family we wanted to do something as a thank you to the university in Halle’s memory. We talked to staff in Student Services and decided to support students without families on campus during what can be a difficult time.

“Heather decides what is going in the Christmas hampers and chooses items that she would fill her own children’s Christmas stockings with; socks, a mug, chocolates. Packing the hampers is a real family affair so we all get involved.”

Over the last 18 months, Edge Hill University has been awarded the NNECL Quality Mark, has signed the Care Leaver Covenant and taken the Stand Alone Pledge for Estranged Students, demonstrating the University’s ongoing commitment to supporting students with care experience and those who are estranged from their families. 

To find out what support is available to Care Leavers, Care Experienced and Estranged students visit the Widening Access and Participation team webpages for pre-entry, or the Student Support team webpages for on-course support.

December 20, 2022

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