With reduced resources it was decided that hampers would be created and given to local schools and family support workers to give out to families across Manor Castle, Norfolk Park & Arbourthorne and Woodthorpe. Schools and their dedicated staff teams know the local families and who would benefit most. We then directed any family that asked us to speak to their school, who are also able to signpost and offer other support when needed.
These hampers are packed by volunteers over 3 full days and are designed by Registered Associate Nutritionist, Holly, from MCDT to include healthy meals that families will enjoy and might then recreate. Craig from MASKK helps put together some activity ideas to help pass the time which along with the recipes are printed in our Healthy Holidays Booklet.
Where funding and restrictions allow, we have also worked with partners to support activities. For example, In October 2020 over 200 people attended an activity and received a free pumpkin from MASKK, Friends of Manor Fields Park or Best Start. 25 children received a free fruit bag when attending football in Lower Manor with Sheffield Wednesday and 50+ people enjoyed a day out at Manor Lodge. For Christmas we created 3 pop up free toy shops, giving vouchers to schools and support workers to share with families struggling to buy Christmas presents for their children. At these we provided presents for over 300 children.
In October Half Term 350 hampers were distributed including 2 family meals reaching 909* people, Christmas we increased this due to demand to 450 hampers including 4 family meals and a chocolate treat reaching 1450* people and February 450 hampers with two meals and a little treat with monitoring due in soon.
Schools have had a difficult and busy year too, but still managed to support us in this task, some schools giving out as few as 12 while others 40. But where schools struggled due to capacity, we found partners to step in and in February Woodthorpe TARA and Community Shop were able to distribute 40 hampers in place of Woodthorpe School and MASKK and the Arbourthorne Centre supported families from Emmaus to access hampers too.
Any remaining hampers are then promoted via social media and collected by other local families so nothing goes to waste.
The current funding from the council was only for the period October 2020 until February 2021. With Easter falling into the new financial year we are hopeful that Sheffield City Council will continue to support the project.
We would like to thank all the local schools and partners across the area that have given their time and support to this project during a challenging year! And a huge thank you to the staff and volunteers that have worked tirelessly to deliver such a fantastic project!
*Based on returned monitoring forms. Some forms are not returned and so the actual number is potentially higher.