• The Pyjama Project

    In a perfect world, bedtime stories would be a staple of every childhood. However for vulnerable young carers up and down the country bedtime represents not a chance to escape into a world of make-believe, but simply an end to another exhausting day of very adult responsibilities.

    The day-to-day lives of young carers would be challenging for most adults. More than half of these children live in one-parent families and almost a third care for someone with mental health problems. Some children care for their parents for up to 50 hours a week, meaning friends, playing and even school come second to their responsibilities at home.

    Fiona’s story is a typical one. She’s eight years old, and her father suffers from depression. Her mother died a few years ago. She’s bullied at school and although her father’s condition has improved slightly, she worries that if it worsens again she will be taken into care.

    Needless to say, children like Fiona will have never experienced the simple joy of a bedtime story. The Flamingo Foundation’s Pyjama Project aims to change all that.

    Taking place during National Storytelling Week (January 26th – February 2nd), the project will see us partner with 85 Fuzzy Ed’s Funhouses across the country to collect new pyjamas and good quality used (or new!) storybooks. We’ll then donate these to Honeypot, an organisation that provides respite care for vulnerable children and young carers, enabling them to play, laugh and get lost in their imaginations rather than worrying about their parents. It gives children like Fiona (and Fiona is a real child who they are working with) something to look forward to and access to adults who can support her and enable her to have as normal a childhood as possible.

    Getting involved in the Pyjama Project is easy. Simply buy a pair of PJs or a book and drop them off at your nearest Funhouse (visit www.flamingofoundation.org/pyjamaproject for a location list). If it’s easier you can buy a virtual gift at www.flamingofoundation.org/shop.

    The collected items will be used to create bedtime packs showing a bit of much needed TLC to these youngsters – and giving them a chance to enjoy being the one looked after for a change.

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