A big-hearted young Derry mother has issued a public appeal for toys and goods to help Derry’s “heroic” single mums, dads and families facing hardship this Christmas.
Natasha Davies (29) from the Sandale area of Derry is determined to make Christmas 2015 special for as many children and their parents across the city as possible.
Mother-of-four Ms Davies said she knows what it is like to be a single mother struggling to cope over the festive season, and said she wants to help others in a similar position.
Ms Davies, who has previously set up the ‘Mums Support Group Derry’ as an online support network for local mothers and which also meets up regularly, has now also set up ‘Derry’s Christmas Wish’.
“There’s a lot of single mothers and single fathers facing struggles, there are people sitting with absolutely nothing; there are people who find themselves just coming out of abusive and violent relationships; people who have lost jobs or though sickness, and maybe families with both parents at home, who find they themselves without money at Christmas.”
Natasha, who has also been helping women and families as they emerge from abusive and violent relationships, said that she has previously come through a difficult relationship herself and struggled to provide toys for her children at Christmas in the past.
She said that her daughter got a second hand doll and pram one year and was delighted until she went to school and heard what Santa had brought her friends. Natasha said her daughter came home from school in tears, unable to understand why Santa had not given her the same as her friends when she had been really good.
“I thought after that that when I can I am going to go out of my way to ensure that no children feels they’re not good enough,” she said.
“I just thought to myself, this is meant to be the magic of Christmas and Christmas is the perfect opportunity for good will, the perfect opportunity to love and to share and to bring the magic of Christmas back.
“Years ago people would go round with tins of sweets or baskets of fruit, and now it’s about whose child gets the most presents or the best presents and that can turn other families into despair.
“Every parent wants the best for their children and people might think they are a failure because they can’t compete with that.
“I have had so many messages from mums, their stories and what they are going through. I have so much admiration for them, putting their children first even they are having difficulties themselves and I personally think there are so many single parents out there that are heroes.
“Christmas is the perfect opportunity for good will, the perfect opportunity to love and to share and to bring the magic of Christmas back.”
Natasha added: “Derry can be a place of support when it wants to be. It is just nice to give, even if it’s just a selection box, to one child that could mean everything.”
Natasha has already begun delivering presents to families following donations of new and as good as new toys which she has presented with bows and ready for Christmas morning.
As well as the toys, she is also looking for donations of tinned food goods, tins of sweets and selection boxes, toiletry sets and vouchers for mums and dads and children’s clothing, coats and pyjamas.
Goods can be collected by Natasha or can be arranged for drop-off via messages to either of her Facebook pages.
As well as the donations to families across the city, together with Paul Burke from Legenderry Bouncy Castles, Natasha is also organising for Santa and his Elf to visit three special families in Derry this festive season.
And she has urged anyone struggling this Christmas or who knows any families in need of help to get in contact via private messages through either of her Facebook pages: www.facebook.com/groups/1644530285815192/ or www.facebook.com/Derrys-christmas-wish-641896735953401/.
Natasha also said she wanted to let those living with domestic violence or who have recently escaped from it that the future can be different, that they are good enough, and they will find their happy ending in the future.