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2019 NEWS 

Christmas Thanks

We are saying thank you to all the groups and companies who have been collecting gift boxes and bags full of stocking fillers and essential winter warmers for the children we support this Christmas. Our office has more gifts in it than Santas workshop! 

Gifts have been going out to families for the past 3 weeks, and we’ll continue to give them out right up until Christmas, with any remaining items going into stock to help families throughout 2020. The brilliant Santas who have been pulling the gifts and other essential items together for us are:
Parents and children at Lambrook school

Staff at Virgin Media in Green Park, Reading

Staff at Sage in Winnersh

Parents and children at Crosfields School

Staff at Skillsoft in Bracknell

Staff CDK Global in Hungerford

Staff Lloyds Register in Bracknell

Parents and children at Sonning CofE school

Members of Woolhampton & Midgham WI

And wonderful volunteers Chrissie & Ken

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Dec 2019

Ho Ho Ho!

We had a great time at the Toad Hall Garden Centre Christmas grotto on Saturday. Thank you so much to Henley Lions for making First Days one of the charities supported by the grotto this year. 

Dec 2019

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Wokingham Winter Carnival


There was fantastic atmosphere at the Winter Carnival. Lots of visitors to our stand, the sun was out, the snow machines was amazing and the stand next to was is selling mulled prosecco and Christmas gin!

Nov 2019

Nov 2019

Nov 2019


A massive thanks to the Woodley and Earley Lions, who came to visit us in Hurst and handed over a cheque for £1,000!

The money will go towards funding for the Charity’s new secondary schools uniform project in Woodley.

Presenting the cheque, Lion

President Paul said, “Woodley and

Earley Lions are delighted to

support this exciting

new scheme designed to help

around 200 disadvantaged

children in Woodley”. 


Dec 2019

We want to say a huge thank you to some of those who have generously donated to our Christmas Trimmings Raffle.


Block and Deck Christmas Trees get consistently recommended on local groups for their great trees, and have kindly donated a 6ft tree to be part of our top prize. 


Reading Hexagon have given us a pair of tickets for their ever popular pantomime.


Wokingham's The Haven Wellbeing Hub have also given a £30 voucher to be used against a treatment in the run up to Christmas. All this and more is part of our £400+ First Prize.

Nov 2019

Our van is off to Slough again today, fully loaded with everything requested for a record 37 children. This month we’re also able to include Christmas gift boxes filled with stocking fillers courtesy of Lambrook School.


It’s our last such visit this year and we were so pleased to receive an update yesterday from Berkshire Community Foundation to say that funding as been renewed to allow us to continue supporting families in Slough.


This is Gabriel. Earlier this year Gabriel's Dad, Conrad, ran Reading Half Marathon for First Days and raised hundreds of pounds to support our work. Gabriel was so inspired by what his Dad did that when he did a 1 mile race recently he also chose to get sponsored for First Days, and has raised a brilliant £80! Not bad for a 7 year old!

Thank you so much Gabriel.

Lexmark Heroes

20 brave souls from Lexmark in Maidenhead spent a day walking a full marathon distance (26 miles) along the Thames and Ridgeway paths to raise money

for First Days.

They raised over

£6000 for First Days. 

What a bunch of



Sept 2019

Lots and lots of nappies

The amazing staff at Avis in Bracknell borrowed one of our pink bins for their Global IT Diaper Drive and managed to collect this huge pile of nappies for us to give out to local families.

A huge thank you to everyone at the company who donated.


When Jude went walking

Many of our volunteers do so much for the charity when it comes to fundraising and we are forever grateful for their efforts. A big shout out this montages to the amazing Jude who walked 50k for the Thames Path Challenge and raised nearly £1000 for First Days

We need to say another huge THANK YOU

to our wonderful supporters. 


After our appeal last week we have been overwhelmed by your generosity. Our toiletry shelves have gone from empty to full, we've got unpacked all these Amazon boxes and still have this pile to open and organise.

Plus a huge amount of items

have been donated from people

stopping in at local supermarkets.

Support for families living in

poverty is often difficult to come

by, so it's fantastic to see what a

brilliant community we have.

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As a small charity, funding, especially for day to day costs, is incredibly difficult to come by. We receive no local government or statutory funding and rely solely on our own efforts, applications and supporters to stay operational.

We therefore have to say a HUGE thank you to everyone at MCKS Charitable Foundation for this incredibly generous funding. Our Referrals Coordinators are essential to processing the requirements of struggling families and keeping on top of the requests that we receive - today we gave out referrals for 15-20 children in the three hours that we were open. This money will ensure that we can cover the costs of these vital team members for the next year. Thank you.


Record Breaker

All the items that get donated to us have had a special and unique history with their previous owners, but this seemingly normal double buggy being checked by our volunteer Frank is particularly noteworthy!

What Frank is checking is actually a former Guinness World Record holding double buggy. The previous owner - Ellie from Barnes Fitness - used this very pushchair to break the record for fastest half marathon pushing a loaded double buggy (in a remarkable time of 1hr47mins) in March 2017.

Her twins have now grown, and someone

has claimed the record, but the buggy is

still going strong and is being made ready

to go out to a local family in need.A huge

thank you to Ellie for the donation. If you

want to read more about the world record

you can do so here:…/


Thanks so much to Reading Road Runners (who have chosen us as their charity of the year this year) for inviting  #TeamFirstDays to take part in their Bingo Relay. We loved it (all 17 laps!) and have taken absolutely loads of nappies, wipes and toiletries back to our warehouse for distribution to families who need them this week. Thank you!

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Emma, Mark and Sarah took on the gruelling 100mile bike ride supporting

and fundraising for First

Days. They all finished in

less than 9 hours. Well done

to you all! If you fancy taking

part next year please look at

our events page for more


27 July 2019


School Days -
by First Days

Another busy day at First Days HQ getting the next batch of school uniform dispatched ready for September. Thank you to the team of amazing volunteers from Wokingham Lions who spend hours laundering items donated in our pink bins across Wokingham.

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Our founder and Chair of Trustees, Emma, discussed the problem of high priced school uniform with Sky News this week:

"we treat everything we give to families as a gift and we make it really clear that it's because school uniform is too expensive that they can't afford it.

"It's not because of something they've done or something that's a failure on their part."…/calls-for-schools-to-make-uniforms-mo…

As term ends, you can donate clean, good condition school uniform at our collection points across Wokingham. Locations are listed on our website:

Join our campaign to

Affordable school uniform

July 2019

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A Safe Place to Sleep

Last year we gave out an average of 13 beds each month. In the last 3 months (the first quarter of our new financial year) this number has risen to an average of 22 - that's a 70% increase. 

That's 66 children who, since 1st April, have been provided with a safe place to sleep as a direct result of everyone who has donated a bed, cotbed, cot, moses basket or bedding to us. A huge thank you to all of you from us, and the families that we help.

In line with safe sleeping guidelines, we also buy a new mattress for every bed that we give out. Mattresses cost an average of £25 each, so that means we have spent over £1600 just on mattresses since April.

July 2019

Celebrating one year at our Hurst warehouse and celebrating our lovely volunteers with coffee and cakes.

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June 2019

These boots are made for walking

We need to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU to Debbie Beeching for donating literally hundreds of pairs of brand new shoes to First Days. Debbie used to own Little Shoe Box in Sunninghill and the shoes are leftover stock from her time running the business.

So many children will have great new shoes as a result.


And we also need to say another thank you to John Shaw for helping collect the shoes and bringing a huge van load to our offices for sorting.

June 2019


We we're lucky enough to be one of the two charities the event supported when it ran in May and

today they popped in to the office

to see us and present is with a

cheque for a whopping £1000!

A huge thanks to The oganisers,

and everyone who took part in this

amazing community event.


June 2019

We are saying a huge welcome to the First Days team to Megan!

Megan is a student at Reading University and is joining us on a 6 week internship, funded through the University's scheme. While she's here she'll be helping with our school uniform project in the lead up to the summer holidays.


June 2019


Mattea & Dave Triathlon

The fantastic Mattea and Dave completed the Blenheim Palace

Triathlon on Sunday 2nd June. They

didn't just do it for the medal and free

banana at the end. They are also raised 

almost £800 for First Days, helping us

support struggling families with

everyday essentials. 

June 2019

Father's Days Toy Exchange at The Oracle, Reading

A huge thanks to The Oracle for supporting First Days with this event! The toy exchange brought lots of great toy donations to the charity and help raise awareness about the charity in central Reading. 


May/June 2019


Two rather remarkable ladies

from Tumble Tots Reading have

taken on two amazing challenges

for First Days recently.

Helen took part in Southport Triathlon on 19th May. Nicky took on the 10km Jubliee River swim on 9th June. They have raised over £1200, which is just incredible, and we thank them a million times for choosing to support First Days. 


On the Cover of

The Wokingham Paper


The main story in this week's Wokingham Paper is about the rise in child poverty in the town. Coincidentally, First Days is also pictured on the cover at our stand at last weekend's Wokingham Walk, where we were one of this year's charity beneficiaries.

With the number of children living in poverty on the rise (and referrals to First Days increasing accordingly), support from community groups and events like these are vital to help keep us running and supporting local families. Thank you to Wokingham Walk and everyone who does so much to help us.

May 2019


May 2019

A massive thanks to Claire at Buggyfit - Reading. She held a class on Monday and instead of the usual payment she asked for donations of toiletries for First Days and had this amazing response. 

Thank you so much to all the wonderful workout mums and to Claire for your support. It really does make a huge difference to First Days and the families we support.

April 2019

April 2019



She's only gone and done it! 


Massive congratulations to Zoe Browne for completing the London Marathon in under 5 hours and raising nearly £1000 for First Days in the process.


April 2019

Easter Bunny visit 


The kind people at Morgan McKinley Recruitment in Maidenhead came by and donated 75 easter eggs. We are sure the families we help will enjoy having a chocolate treat this Easter.

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March 2019

Day at the Races!

We have been working with Ascot Racecourse recently after they helped fund work we are doing in Slough.


On Sunday March 31st they had one of their regular Spring Family Racedays. We were honoured that they named one of their races after the charity, helping raise the profile of the work that we do with families across Berkshire.


The owner of First Days Emma Cantrell was invited to come along to present the trophy to the winner of the 'First Days Charity Novices' Handicap Steeple Chase'.


March 2019

Mother's Day treats

Ahead of Mother's Day on Sunday, we need to say a massive thank you to two of our volunteers - Catherine and Katie.


They have galvanised their friends and contacts and between them have put together approximately 80 mother's day packs, which we have been giving outwith referrals all this month.


March 2019

Outreach Slough

On March 21st  we held our first pop-up outreach service in Slough. Thanks to funding from Berkshire Community Foundation and Ascot Racecourse we've been able to start this project to take the support First Days offers to a community children's centre in Slough. We'll be visiting every month to help provide essentials to families in the town where 30% of children are living in poverty.


Spring 2019

Thanks for choosing us to be your Charity of the Year!

Lexmark Social Committee

Reading Roadrunners

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Wellington College - Wellesley House

Holt School

- Broderers House


March 2019

Play Date with Sage


Slightly different corporate lunch today for the People Leadership Team from Sage! A presentation from us and a puzzle and sock sorting session!



The Sage Reading Half Marathon and Green Park Challenge took place Sunday March 17th. We had 15 runners running for First Days all sporting our First Days branded running tops. All the runners did brilliantly and was cheered along the way by many First Days supporters.  


There is still money coming in for our runners, but it looks like the grand total is going to be around the £7000 mark, which is FANTASTIC! 


Our friends at Reading Roadrunners were also selling drinks and sweet treats for hungry runners and raised a staggering £676!


March 2019

February 2019


Thank you, Karen!


First Days volunteer Karen Janeba ran Wokingham Half Marathon on Sunday 23rd Feb and raised money for First Days.  Karen raised a MASSIVE £565. Go Karen! 

A huge thank you to Karen and everyone who has sponsored her so far - without

fundraising like this First Days

simply wouldn't be able to

survive and help support

thousands pf children each year.

If you are interested in taking on

a challenge for First Days, please

drop a line to

and we can let you know details

of what's coming up.

February 2019

School Days Project  

The project was set up in May 2018 in partnership between First Days Children's Charity and Wokingham United Charities to help provide families in the Wokingham area with the uniforms their children need for school.  

School holidays tend to be the busiest time for our school uniform team. Today they made sure that 9 children will be able to attend school next week and focus on their studies, rather than worrying that they don't have the correct uniform.



We are still collecting good quality pre-loved secondary school uniform in our pink bins which are positioned across Wokingham. If you have children approaching the end of year 11, please consider donating their uniform to the project at one of the donation points.


Thank you.



We are constantly amazed by the generosity of our supporters donating items to us. If you don't have anything on our current donation list but would still like to help we have an amazon wishlist set up to allow our supporters to help us provide these items and other small items that we vitally need. You can find it online here:


Also, if you take a moment to register with Amazon Smile, First Days will also get cash back for purchase through the site.


Thank you so much to those who have kindly bought items from the Amazon Wish List recently. 


February 2019





We have regular

volunteer meetings to

talk about what the

charity is up to and

hear ideas and

suggestions from those who give their time to help us. Sometimes we discuss big ideas, but sometimes it's more basic. Last month volunteer Shelley put her Netflix viewing to good use and now we're in the process of Marie Kondo-ing all our clothing stock!

January 2019


PAT TESTING with Mr Electric


We work hard to ensure that everything we give out to families is safe and in good working condition. The fantastic

people at Mr Electric in Reading

have kindly lent us Kalen today,

who has been PAT testing all the

electrical items donated to us

recently, including baby



A huge thank you to both Kalen

and everyone at Mr Electric.


January 2019 / Christmas 2018 fundraising


WOW! - a massive THANK YOU!

We have now had time to tally up and sit down and go through all the amazing fundraising efforts leading up to Christmas 2018, and we are BLOWN AWAY by people's generosity and good will. We can't thank everybody enough for all the money raised for the charity as well as raising awareness of the work that we do. 

Thanks to the following groups, schools, churches for spreading extra Christmas cheer here at First Days:


Reading Between The Lines Theatre Company - Bucket Collection after Henry V performances at Reading Minster in October.  


Reading University Carol Concert - Bucket collection. 


Tumble Tots Christmas Jumpers Week - donations from Tumble Tots attendees in exchange for wearing Christmas clothing.  


Early Community Choir - Bucket collection at their November Afternoon Tea Concert.  


Reading Rock Choir - Bucket collection outside Tesco Reading. 


St Theresa's Primary School, Reading - Giving Tree and donations at Christmas fair. 


Our Lady of Peace Church, Woodley - Christmas giving tree. 


Micklands Primary, Caversham - Bucket Collection


Crosfields School - Lots of xmas presents and essentials collected.

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