Luton boy's Christmas thank you message is beamed over London
Carson is one of 12 youngsters thanking volunteers for helping their family during pandemic via a BT Tower message
The words of a nine-year-old Luton boy will light up the iconic BT Tower in London this Christmas.
Carson Baxter's message 'Our volunteer helps me with my speech', is one of 12 messages lighting up the tower over 12 days.
National family support charity Home-Start UK has teamed up with BT to share some of the wonderful messages received from young people thanking volunteers who supported their family during the pandemic.
The Christmas campaign is encouraging people to make nice things happen for others over the festive season, and was inspired by a five-year-old boy, Max, who thanked his Home-Start volunteer for supporting him and his disabled dad John with the simple message: “Our volunteer makes nice things happen.”
Carson's mum, Carene Baxter, 35, who is supported by Home-Start Central Bedfordshire, said: “I’m so proud of my boy up there on the BT Tower. He’s come a long way with the support of our Home-Start volunteer and we’re thrilled to be able to thank our volunteer in this way.”
His words will be displayed on the 190 metre high BT Tower from 9am to 5pm in a series of messages from Monday, December 6 to Friday, December 17.
Mum-of-four Carene said: “I live with intense emotions. I feel depressed, stressed and I suffer with anxiety. My mood swings can be rapid and on some days it can be hard to leave the house. I have a personality disorder that makes life a struggle.
“There’s just two years between my youngest two and I found it harder and harder to cope. I was referred to Home-Start Central Beds and was matched with Jenny, a Home-Start volunteer just before we went into lockdown. I was previously supported by Home-Start with my second child, so I knew I could trust them and I’d experienced the difference they had made to my life.
“I got through lockdown because of Jenny. Even though she couldn’t visit in person, through video calls and WhatsApp, she made such a difference to us. Jenny used to be a teacher and really helped my older two with their home schooling. She gave me advice on how to cope with the little ones, and was someone to talk to when things got too much.
“We’ve been through a lot, but I’m grateful to have such a supportive husband who loves his family so much. He is a very hands-on dad and has made huge sacrifices for the family. He is always caring for me and seeking help. He is constantly in touch with the mental health team and Home-Start to make sure I have the support that I need.
“It’s touching there are charities and companies looking out for families like mine. It has bought so much joy and happiness into our home. If we didn’t have Home-Start we would be struggling alone with no-one to talk to. It makes me feel quite emotional, but in a happy way.”
Peter Grigg, Chief Executive of Home-Start UK, said: “It’s been a hard year for everyone, so this Christmas, Home-Start wants to not only thank our volunteers who were there for our families when things got tough, but also to encourage people to make nice things happen for others this festive season. What better way to get this across than in giant letters on one of the most iconic landmarks in the capital and through the eyes of children. We are absolutely delighted that our corporate partner BT has been able to help us share the real meaning of Christmas: simple pleasures, support, friendship and kindness.”
The BT Tower messages are designed to stop busy shoppers, residents and commuters in their tracks to take a moment to remember the real meaning of Christmas. Lighting up the tower with the words of children has been made possible thanks to Home-Start UK being chosen as BT’s UK national charity partner.
Victoria Johnson, Campaigns, Charity and Engagement Director at BT, said: “Volunteers up and down the country do such amazing work all year round, so it's great to be able to share these thank you messages and show the impact it has, particularly on children.
“We partnered with Home-Start due to a shared vision of how digital technology can help improve people's lives. It's apt therefore that one of the most prominent digital screens in the UK can help share some kindness, particularly at this time of year.”
To get involved and Make Nice Things Happen for families this Christmas visit: https://www.home-start.org.uk/donate/donate-now