In November 2019, when the Spurgeons team began its contract in Elmbridge, Surrey to deliver a brand-new Family Centre service to families with children aged 0-11, they, like all of us, had not expected the uncertainty that 2020 would bring. Since then the team have grown from 7 to 17 and had to adapt the service quickly to provide family support throughout a pandemic! Just over a year since delivery began, we share the impact that support has made to families in the borough and how families have been particularly supported over the Christmas period by the Elmbridge team.
Vital to the team’s ability to provide essential family support has been the strong links within the community that the service has worked hard to establish. Just a little over a year since the contract began, the Spurgeons team in Elmbridge has benefitted from £21,000 of grant income as well as support from the local supermarkets, particularly Morrisons and Waitrose, along with retailers such as Costco and smaller organisations including the Walton Charity and Elmbridge and Walton Foodbanks. This has enabled them to provide vital resources throughout the year including school uniforms to 70 children, £500 worth of mobile phones to victims of Domestic Abuse, fresh food to over 1,000 children and 600 adults as well as craft packs and toys for 175 children.
And with Christmas 2020 being an especially difficult period for many families who have been struggling financially due to the Covid-19 pandemic after losing jobs, being furloughed or not having funds to meet basic needs, let alone luxuries, the team reached out to the community to ensure families were provided for over this time. Collections of food donations were organised with Morrisons and Asda as well as vouchers being provided by Sainsbury’s so families could be supported to buy Christmas essentials and festive treats. Additionally, a ‘lunch on Jesus’ initiative was launched to enable families to receive all the ingredients for a Christmas dinner including turkey, trimmings, dessert and non-alcoholic drinks so that families were able to cook and enjoy Christmas dinner at home.
The impact being made by the Elmbridge team is clearly visible from comments of families who have benefitted from the support, with one family commenting:
‘‘I really appreciate everything you do for us and thank you for always being there for us. I’m so happy I have you in my life and all the support you give. You’re like part of my family now.’’
About the Spurgeons Elmbridge Family Centre Service:
Spurgeons family centres in the borough of Elmbridge, Surrey are places where parents of children aged 0–11 years can share the challenges and joys of parenthood. The centres offer a range of activities and support services to help you with all aspects of parenting, helping you make sure your child gets the best start in life.
To learn more about our work in Elmbridge, click here.