Vital family support to continue, thanks to £5k community grant

Vital family support to continue, thanks to £5k community grant

An Elmbridge-based charity that’s already made more than 300 emergency deliveries to 80 local families in need of food and household items has been awarded £5,000 to extend its work during the coronavirus lockdown.

Spurgeons, a national children’s charity that moved into Surrey last autumn to serve Elmbridge communities out of two new Family Centres, at Walton-on-Thames and Three Rivers, West Molesey, as well as operate from a satellite centre in the south of the borough, at Cobham, has been given the cash boost by the Surrey Coronavirus Respond Fund, run by Community Foundation for Surrey.

To date the Family Centres have gratefully received donations from various organisations and individuals for redistribution. However, the demand for support in the current circumstances means that additional supplies for families are desperately needed.

‘Distribute help parcels to those in most need’

This grant will allow Spurgeons to continue purchasing bulk supplies of essentials and distribute help parcels to those in most need. Their deliveries include fresh food, dry food, nappies, baby milk and baby food, baby wipes, toiletries, toilet rolls and cleaning products, plus craft packs and board games to keep families entertained during lockdown. Ready packed groceries have also been donated by Waitrose stores at Esher, Hersham and Weybridge.

Children’s Services Manager Sally Ruby pointed to the vital help given to families by local communities, with many of the families being hit by a change of income caused by the pandemic.

“People have been buying nappies online, for example and arranging for them to be delivered to our drop-off point at the Walton Family Centre,” said Sally.

“Now we’re absolutely thrilled to receive this grant from the Community Foundation for Surrey, where money has been donated by local residents, businesses and contributions from the National Emergencies Trust Appeal,” she added.

‘The best outcome for children and families in Elmbridge’

“We’re excited by the opportunities this funding will bring to provide the best outcome for children and families in Elmbridge who are struggling at this very challenging time.”

Senior Family Support Worker Katie Vinnicombe, who leads on community development and first got the scheme going when she secured £1,000 from The Walton Charity, explained that most families helped by this initiative are not families on benefits referred to Spurgeons by local schools, churches or other voluntary or charitable organisations.

‘Many of our deliveries going to self-employed parents who’ve never needed help before’

“Many of our deliveries are going to single parents who are no longer able to work because they have to look after their children and to self-employed parents who’ve never previously needed help, such as hairdressers, gardeners, builders, decorators and beauty technicians, for example, or those on zero-hour contracts.

“We came into contact with one mum who runs a private health clinic and was having to pay rent on a building she can’t use, as well as her own home rent. She said she and her three boys would have to eat only every other day from now on. Thanks to the donations we’ve received, we were able to help her.”

Kate Peters, Director of Grant-making at Community Foundation for Surrey, said: “We recognise the good work that Spurgeons is doing and appreciate the willingness that has been shown in changing the project from a predominantly voucher scheme, to purchasing the essential items and distributing them accordingly.”