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An image of festive treats hampers.

News story

Hampers full of festive treats given to care leavers and estranged students

December 19, 2023

Edge Hill University students who are Care Experienced and Estranged Students (CEES) received special Christmas hampers this week.

Heather O’Brien from The Halle O’Brien CIC generously donated over 70 hampers full of festive treats to CEES students who stay on campus during the Christmas break.

Taylor, a first-year care experienced student, said: “It was lovely to receive a hamper from the Student Support Team and brought a smile to my face. For some students, Christmas can be quite difficult, so small gestures such as the Christmas hamper mean a lot.” 

A picture of bags of presents with "Elfie's Chrsitmas Eve Bag" written on them.

The Halle O’Brien CIC was set up in 2020 in memory of Heather’s daughter, Halle. In 2019, Halle was halfway through her first year at Edge Hill studying towards 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 raised by the shop support projects to improve children’s academic and social development when families might otherwise struggle with the cost of extracurricular activities.

Jane 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 she would fill her children’s Christmas stockings with, like socks, mugs, and chocolates. Packing the hampers is a real family affair, so we all get involved.”

Edge Hill is committed to supporting CEES students and has been awarded the NNECL Quality Mark, has signed the Care Leaver Covenant and taken the Stand Alone Pledge for Estranged Students to ensure the University achieves the best outcomes for students with experience of care and estrangement.

To find out what support is available to 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 19, 2023


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