Kilburn school girl's Kits for Kids fundraiser to buy Christmas gifts for homeless children
PUBLISHED: 17:43 26 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:24 27 November 2019
© Alex Rumford
"Inspirational" Astrid Aurell is on a mission to raise more than £5,000 to buy Christmas presents for children living in temporary accommodation.
The 12-year-old, who lives in Kilburn Lane, founded her campaign Kits for Kids in 2016, when she was nine, and raised £1,350 to spend on kids living in hostels.
This year she has gone further and hopes to raise £5,000 to buy presents for 250 youngsters which she'll distribute through two charities - Doorstep Shelter in Finchley Road and Shepherds Bush Families Project - and is currently only £700 away from hitting her target.
"I started this campaign was because I found out just how many children in the UK are actually in a situation of homelessness or temporary accommodation," she said.
"This year, over 130,000 kids - kids no different than me - will not have a home for Christmas. On top of this, four million kids in the UK live in poverty.
"I can't change the terrible statistics but I can try to help a little by making sure as many kids as possible have a gift to open at Christmas.
"I hope that it makes it easier on the parents, not having to try and choose between rent or food and making their child happy on Christmas morning.
"I think it's really sad that poverty is such a big issue in a rich country like the UK and that kids are in this situation."
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Formerly a pupil at Princess Frederica in Kensal Rise, Astrid buys gifts for children aged up to 16, "anything from Frozen Dolls to Lego sets, to big art sets, Avengers figures, headphones, extra cuddly teddy bears and more".
She then gets her friends together to help wrap them and then delivers it to the charities who distribute them to families.
Not only has she been made a Go Fundme Hero, she has also captured the attention of local actor and comedian Doc Brown who said she's "an inspirational young person".
"Astrid's doing an amazing thing, and being a Kilburn native, I have to say it fills me with pride, he said.
"Actions always speak louder than words and Astrid has truly taken action here.
"The money she's raising on GoFundMe will help bring a smile to children in such difficult situations, and the more people support it, the more children she can help.
"By donating to the campaign, we can all be a part of the action and make a real difference.
"It's a simple click away and every tiny contribution can become a huge statement."