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Mask-making ‘supermom’ on mission to help others this Christmas

An inspirational ‘supermom’ who made 3,000 face masks, including ones for hospital staff, whilst caring for her disabled children is now on a mission to help people in need this Christmas.

Jo Higgins from Bournville and her family are looking to fill Christmas gift bags with a range of goodies to put a smile on the faces of struggling families and single people in her community.

The mother-of-three, who alongside her husband is a full time carer for her children Ethan, Kori and Kye, is working with community organisation and charity Bournville Village Trust to reach those finding it tough.

Together, Jo and the Trust will hand out bags to struggling families, people who have lost their jobs, experienced homelessness or live in care, and older people who are alone and those who may just need a treat.

To reach as many people as possible, Jo and her family are asking for donations of new and unused items from colouring books and chocolates to anything in between. They have set up a PayPal for donations which will buy gifts and food, and have had a great response so far.

Jo, who has lived in Bournville for 18 years with her husband Michael, said: “We have three disabled children all with autism and life has been a struggle for us. There has been Christmases when our children have gone without presents because we couldn’t afford to buy them.

“To have received a present or a food parcel back then would have been amazing and instead of thinking about ‘what ifs’, we wanted to help families who are right now struggling like we did. I have personally experienced living in care and was homeless for a short time too, so I know how this feels.

“I wanted to work with Bournville Village Trust to make sure we were getting the gifts to people who really need them and the more donations we get, the more people we can help. After a year that has been, let’s face it, pants, I can’t sit back and do nothing.”

Jess Allan, Community Development Manager at Bournville Village Trust, said: “As a community organisation and charity, we work directly with people who are isolated and lonely, care leavers, people who have experienced homelessness and families just finding it really hard to get by.

“We are really pleased to be supporting Jo and her family to reach people in need this Christmas and spread a little festive joy. Jo is an amazing supermom of a person who is an inspiring member of the Bournville community.”

For details on how to support Jo and her family with their campaign, people can go to Jo’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/TheHigginsFamily5/ and they also have a PayPal email address Thehigginsfamilyfive@gmail.com

Back in April, Jo made thousands of colourful face masks including ones for Birmingham Children’s Hospital, which she has to visit regularly, after hearing that children were frightened of the regular personal protective equipment worn by staff.

The 39-year-old was also awarded a Bournville Star award by community organisations Bournville Community Hub, Bournville Village Trust and St Francis Church to recognise her voluntary work during Covid.

Bournville Village Trust, founded by George Cadbury in 1900, is a community organisation and registered charity. Its mission is to create and sustain communities where people can thrive. It provides services to 8,000 homes and 25,000 people in Birmingham and Shropshire.

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