A wide-reaching Christmas campaign aimed at making a real difference to struggling families has been launched by Broadstairs business owner Steve Lawrence.
Steve, who runs the popular Please Sir restaurant in the high street, has teamed up with a group of Thanet businesses to try and make a difference to the lives of children and families who have hit tough times.
The campaign, which is being run through a link with isle schools, aims to not just give gifts but to help with everything from winter clothing to funding towards shopping and energy bills.
Steve, who opened Please Sir last year, is working with Star of the Sea chippie, Hogmans butchers, Prentis veg shop, Crusties bakery, Johnston Marketing, Margate Barber Company, The Counting House, The Bottleneck and Sharp Printing on the ambitious campaign.
He said: “Last year I raised £600 for Thanet Winter Shelter. I did not want that to go towards the upkeep of the shelter or running costs so ask them to use it to buy gifts, which they did.
“This year I want to do something bigger and better and change lives. I have been talking to schools about their youngsters on Pupil Premium, this means their parents or carers are on no more than £16,000 per year and some of those kids have nothing, no coats and are dependent on the school for things like meals and bus fare. This is right on our doorstep every day, kids literally struggling and at Christmas that support network is often gone.
“We all try to do our bit at Christmas but when we walk away are we 100% satisfied?”
Steve says he wants to do more and to help in a practical and meaningful way. The result is the Please Sir, Let’s Give Some More campaign.
The campaign has got several strands. One of those is a post on facebook which Steve will donate 1p for every like it receives. Star of the Sea has pledged to do the same. This money will be used to pay for winter coats and trainers.
There will also be a Christmas tree in Please Sir and people are invited to leave gifts under it.
Hampers will be made thanks to the donations of the partner businesses and will also include a practical toiletries version from The Counting House. There will be free haircuts from Margate Barber Company and Bank Job escape room sessions again donated by The Counting House.
Schools will provide age and male/female details for students on the premium so that gifts can be given accordingly.
The gofundme will also be used to give families practical help.
Former Navy man Steve said: “There will be milestones, say £100 or £200 to a family where mum is ill or dad has lost his job and they need to pay gas or electric or get some shopping in.
“We want to change lives, change mindsets, . If someone is struggling and we can pay their gas bill or clothe the kids, that might be all it takes to help them turn things around.
“I was given the opportunity to turn my life around and I want to give someone with nothing some help and some hope.”
When a milestone is reached dad-of-three Steve will go live on Please Sir ! Live ( Facebook ) to announce exactly where the donation will be made.
For people who would like to donate a gift to a child it’s asked that they wrap it in blue or pink with an age range. These will be donated by the schools to students/families.
All the donations will be distributed by School Safe Guarding teams to those where it will really make a difference. All businesses taking part will display posters at their premises.
Please Sir is at 36 High Street.