For many years we have held a Christmas party for the children from the local junior and infant schools in our area. This was of course out of the question this year. We decided instead to give families extra help at Christmas.
It is an even more stressful time for our residents this year. Many families have reduced income and are struggling to make ends meet so affording presents for their children, extra food etc that most enjoy at Christmas seems out of reach. We wanted to help them to have a more positive Christmas.
We met with Birmingham Central foodbank and they agreed to provide food for 100 families and we agreed that we would buy a game for every family and raise money for supermarket vouchers and put on credit on their prepayment fuel meters.
Families had to be referred to the scheme. We had referrals from local schools, support workers, children’s trust staff, money advisors and credit union.
We asked businesses to help with funding. We contacted the Fuel Foundation who agreed that their funding would cover grants to prepayment meters.
We had a brilliant response from our local businesses and local residents. Many of them have supported us for a number of years and we are very fortunate that they are so responsive to our requests for help. We thank BHSF, Acme whistles, Paradise circus group, WPR, Calthorpe estates, Argent, Birmingham city church and generous local residents.
We were able to provide to each family
A board game (compendium sort)
A food parcel sufficient for 3 days for the family (supplied by BC Foodbank)
£70 Tesco voucher to buy fresh food to supplement food parcel. (Ladywood Project)
£49 loaded onto gas/electric prepayment meters ( Ladywood project/Fuel foundation)
A craft pack and bird feeder kit (The Hive and JQR)
We had 117 families referred to us which comprised 172 parents and 283 children. We stretched our money to provide for them all.
The families were absolutely delighted and relieved by the help given . There were a few tears and many were so relieved that their families would struggle less over the holiday period.
Some of the referrers gave us very positive feedback too.
“We're so grateful for the provision of fuel vouchers, shopping vouchers, food and gifts for our most vulnerable and neediest families in our community. For all of them the extra help has been a life line in feeding and providing for their children and meeting the cost of heating their homes. It's made such a difference” Ruth Fuller Karis Neighbours
“The donations we have benefitted from this year have been carefully selected to go to our families who are on child protection, vulnerable, parents who have lost jobs due to the pandemic and who would be struggling to cope this Christmas otherwise. Without help, these families would have endured further suffering to their mental health, stress levels which would naturally have had an impact on the children. “ Sarb Masih St Georges School
This was a brilliant example of charities, businesses, faith groups and local residents working together to help those in their community. We are very grateful to all those involved.