Community group publishes festive story to raise money for ADDvanced Solutions

A South Liverpool community group that has already raised £7,600 for struggling local charities, is hoping to boost donations through sales of its self-published festive story The Rainbow Christmas.

One of the six small charities it supports is none other than MWOTY sponsor and former winner, ADDvanced Solutions. Another, LivPac, is the organisation founded by one of our MWOTY Marvels winners, Donna Phipps.

Earlier this year, The Advent Bank set a target of raising £2,400 to ensure that all 80 children eligible for free school meals at Dovedale Primary School in Mossley Hill would have supermarket vouchers for over the half-term holidays.

However, as the impact of COVID-19 collided with the Government decision not to extend free school meal vouchers and the charities it works with reported helping four times as many people as usual, it decided to step up its work.

Working with local businesses and driving donations via its GoFundMe page saw the organisation raise £7,600 and spurred its volunteers on to do even more.

The Advent Bank founder, Rachel Ryan, said: “We were so overwhelmed by the display of kindness and generosity in our community that we decided to celebrate the values we’d seen in action and raise more money for our charities by self-publishing our own Christmas story,”

From this, The Rainbow Christmas was born. The book was completed in just four weeks by The Advent Bank’s team of four dedicated volunteers, Kate Heath (writer), Susannah Gorman (illustrator), Rachel Ryan (editor) and Karen Gibson-Coles.

The enchanting story tells of kindness and community spirit during a very different kind of Christmas – and the magic that could still be found.

Since going on sale in mid-November at £6 per copy, the book has already sold 400 copies, with supporters both buying for themselves and to donate to children in need across the region. Rachel and the team at The Advent Bank have also collaborated with other local makers to create a range of The Rainbow Christmas themed products, with proceeds being donated to The Advent Bank’s partner charities.

The Advent Bank was established in 2016, when Rachel started a ‘reverse advent calendar’ with my children, putting an item of food aside each day to donate to a local food bank.

With the problem of food poverty in the city apparent and growing, Rachel decided to do it on a bigger scale. Working with the community and local businesses, she coordinated food donations to make a Christmas meal, donating 2,380 items to South Liverpool Foodbank.

In the years that followed, The Advent Bank started raising money for six small local charities – Better Days Homes, Action with Young Carers Liverpool Barnardos, The Isabella Trust, LivPac and ADDvanced Solutions.

Rachel added: “We focused on working with organisations that helped vulnerable children who slipped through the net of usual support, but which didn’t have the time or budget to fundraise for themselves.

“This year has been such a difficult year for so many and we are thrilled to have been able to rally the community to ensure the charities that support those most vulnerable families are able to continue their incredible work over Christmas and beyond.

The Rainbow Christmas was inspired by the incredible show of support for The Advent Bank’s fundraising and we hope that it in turn will inspire readers when they see what is possible when communities come together.”

Vanda Reeves, from ADDvanced Solutions said: “Rachel is a parent who accessed our learning and support services and was really complimentary about her experience. She came to us to offer her support by fundraising for us.

“While COVID-19 has affected all organisations, including ourselves, we are aware that there are many families and individuals in the communities we work in who have been impacted far more significantly. Our team is working with The Advent Bank to provide those people with a little extra help this Christmas.

“We are really grateful for the support from Rachel and the team at The Advent Bank and we would like to thank everyone who has kindly donated or purchased items from its shop.”

To find out more about The Advent Bank visit www.theadventbank.com

To buy a copy of The Rainbow Christmas and its related  stocking fillers, visit www.theadventbank.com/shop

To donate to The Advent Bank via its GoFundMe page, visit  https://gf.me/u/y5wkkm

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