News & What's On Grapevine news Urgent Christmas Appeal School Holiday Clubs – urgent appeal for help for Christmas and beyond Donate here Now more than ever families are struggling to feed their children during the holiday. With the Christmas period just around the corner we are asking for help to raise some extra money so we can provide a few Christmas goodies with their food parcels. In the October half-term we worked with FareShare and 15 School Holiday Clubs to supply three days’ worth of food for over 2000 children. This was equivalent to over 10 tonnes of food and more than 15,000 meals at a cost of over £8,500. In the 6 week summer holidays, the partnerships supported over 6000 children and families, at a cost of £53,000. Feedback from the school holiday clubs confirm that many families are struggling financially, and that a growing number of these are not yet eligible for benefits or Universal Credit, and are therefore not in receipt of Free School Meals. They do not always know where to go for help. Many families were ‘just managing’ before the COVID crisis, but changes in work circumstances, reduced hours or recent job losses mean that they have significant money worries and many are falling between the cracks. This current lockdown has seen some self-employed parents and those who are small business owners coming to the end of their savings, and turning to food projects for help to feed their families. Based on figures supplied by the October Holiday Clubs, on average 60% of the families attending would have had a family member go without meals over the half-tem break if they had not received the food parcels provided. This figure rose to 100% in some areas. Beverley Parker, RAD CEO says; “Whilst the Government’s recent announcement regarding the Covid Winter Grant Scheme is very welcome, we don’t yet know how much local holiday clubs will receive from this funding pot, and whether this will actually meet demand. There is a sense that we are just scratching the surface, and that many more families will present to our projects over the festive period. Christmas is often a tricky time for low income families, but I fear this year it will be worse than ever. Therefore, we are asking for help. We would like to raise additional funds for the Christmas period to ensure that families not only have the basics covered, but that they can have a few festive treats too. The additional money raised will be distributed to the Holiday Clubs in our network, as they are in the best position to know what their community needs.“ The school holiday clubs would like to purchase Christmas Dinner ingredients, treats and small craft/activity packs or books for the children and families they will support. To donate, please go to our fundraising page here or email Joanne Peck, [email protected] or telephone 01629 592970 and leave a message.