Christmas is the hardest time of the year if you are homeless, alone, vulnerable or have mental health issues - with Austerity biting hard and cuts to so many services and budgets, there isn't a huge amount of support out there for those in most desperate need and the charities and groups that we work so closely with all year round are gearing up for a hard winter this year.
Imagine you are homeless at Christmas - you have no family to turn to for company and support, it's bloody freezing at night and often you huddle wet through watching people rushing to do their Christmas shopping. On Christmas Day there is nobody about to give you food or kindness - everyone is at home - that isn't an option for you though.....it's the loneliest time of the year. For those with mental health issues, most of the groups and activities they depend on take a break at Christmas - and so many have disappeared this year in Adult Services budget cuts...The animal shelters are stretched already to breaking point too - and about to be inundated as people are dumping pets when they can't afford the vets' bill....
Last year we held a special run of We Shall Overcome Christmas gigs to help the people out there - coincidentally we ended up helping 12 different charities and groups and made a difference wherever we could - The need is even greater this year, so we are going again...And again We Shall Overcome will aim to help with 12 aims....running from Friday 18th November through to the rough sleep on Saturday 3rd December.....
1) Greystones/Impact - we want to provide Christmas Dinner for all the homeless men at our local hostel and they also open their doors to the rough sleepers on Christmas Day - so we need to provide turkey and all the trimmings for around 70 men. There used to be funding for the hostels to dip into to provide this, but under Austerity, that has gone - homeless or not, Christmas dinner should not be a luxury!
2) Infinity Initiatives - the closest charity to us - Gemma Louise and the team have helped us time and again when we have had people in crisis arrive in desperate need - we want to provide Christmas extras for the families they are helping and sleeping bags and warm coats for their work with the homeless locally in Tameside.
3) Emmelines Parlour Pantry - Karen Wilson and her amazing team of volunteers work tirelessly to help the women in the refuges and their children and vulnerable families across Manchester - we want to provide gifts for women, babies and teenagers for their Christmas appeal as well as festive treats for their food bank.
4) Street Treats - we want to provide a dozen draw-string bags of gifts for their Christmas Appeal as well as continuing to support their weekly outreach work in Manchester every Thursday - and again warm coats and clothes as well.
5) Roofless - we want to provide a selection of Christmas treats for Alison Hall's and Scott's outreach work in the city this Christmas.
6) Pennine Pen Animal Shelter - we want to provide Christmas dinner and a toy for every animal in the Shelter this Christmas.
7) Tameside Animal Shelter - as above - they have so many animals there that are desperate for a home - at least we can give them a little help for Christmas.
8) Anthony Seddon Fund - Donna Thomas is appealing for help for the patients in the Acute Mental Health ward at Tameside Hospital - again budget cuts have bitten this year and many of these people have no family to support them on Christmas Day - Donna is aiming to provide 40 gift packs for the patients there and we want to help by contributing to this.
9) Pennine Mencap - again a house charity here at The Station with Sunday Social events here throughout the year - we want to give them a special Christmas social to show them that people out there do care.
10) Christmas Hampers - we have a number of elderly, vulnerable or disabled people that we have been supporting with food parcels - particularly when the cold weather sets in and they have to choose to eat or heat....we are going to make up 10 hampers to give these people some help at Christmas.
11) Tameside Against The Cuts - our weekly food parcels for Charlotte Hughes's last day outside the job centre helping those who have been sanctioned and are in trouble will have extra in to help a little with Christmas - that's 10 food parcels needed.
12) Manchester Activists Network - we want to deliver some extra food and essentials to the young people in the squat in Manchester to see them through Christmas - there will be little help out there on the streets for them on Christmas Day!
In addition to these we will also be continuing to support Wooden Canal Boat Society with their recycling and with donations for the shop - Ashton Boatman, Christine Roberts, Kath Walls, Daniel Cocker and all the team there are making a difference all year round and their well-being cruises make such a difference - so while this isn't down as one of the 12 aims, it is very much still a part of our Christmas appeal..... :-D
So there you have it - it's a lot to achieve, but we managed it last year and are hoping to replicate that this year to help as many people as possible at the time of the year when they most need to know that they matter and that people out here do care.....
GIG AND EVENT LIST Friday 18th November - DIY WSO Tickle - Ill Fated Riot, The See No Evils and The Daves - punk triple https://www.facebook.com/events/1002638096476604/
Saturday 19th November - The Donny Deviants Invasion - Another invasion gig - this time with perverts and pirates from Doncaster - Johnny Half A day + Little Terry + Ali Sarbutt + Passion Play + Carla May + Lucy Raybould - plus special guests Chambers. https://www.facebook.com/events/266652183667616/
Sunday 20th November - Metal WSO - hosted by the mighty CAIN with special guests including touring band Cherry Grind
Thursday 24th November - Headjam - our weekly community music project for people with learning difficulties and mental health problems form 7pm
Friday 25th November - Mrs Cakehead, Cosmic Slop and We Were Lawless - another triple from Dave Higginson Tranter - awesome. https://www.facebook.com/events/570602209771263/
Saturday 26th November - Run Out The Guns - special WSO visit by Station favourites belting out brilliant folk punk with sea shanties!
Sunday 27th November - Jingle Punks All Dayer courtesy of Keith Willcocks with an incredible line-up from 2pm - The Fiend, Autopsy Boys, Slab, RBH, Salvo & Thirtinas. https://www.facebook.com/events/561930294018249/
Monday 28th November - Spoken Passions - hosted by Scott Cullen Steele - an evening of spoken word and poetry from 7pm - 9pm
Wednesday 30th November - Buskers Jam Session - hosted by resident band Don't Poke The Wookie from 8pm
Thursday 1st December - Headjam - the second of the two WSO Headjams for this run of gigs
Friday 2nd December - Christmas Line Check - hosted by Scott Cullen Steele - this special open mic event brings together some incredible acoustic artists for WSO https://www.facebook.com/events/1682014538780421/
Saturday 3rd December - Pete Bentham and The Dinnerladies & Guests - Make Scouse Not War with us and this incredible punk rock and roll band for WSO Christmas https://www.facebook.com/events/357763141235807/
Saturday 10th December - Last Resort MCC Rock and Blues Night with The Voodoo Hogs.
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