Churches, communities and businesses in the Shurdington, Badgeworth and Witcombe areas have come together to ensure that all children in their parish have food and entertainment over the half term break. It is expected that around 53 children will benefit from the scheme.
Shurdington Church of England Primary School helped a team of volunteers to identify any children whose families might struggle to feed them over the break, and volunteers from the local churches have made plans to welcome them to the church hall, get to know them, and provide some fun.
Some children who usually receive free school meals had help during the summer holidays, but there is no national provision to feed them during half term. The community decided that they needed to support these families, so Shurdington Church of England Primary School, Shurdington Chapel, the Benefice Churches, Brockworth Church, Beauty and the Teacup, and several other organisations have all come together to offer help.
Morrisons in Up Hatherley have donated approximately 80 per cent of the food through their ‘Community Champions’ Andrea and Jane. They have helped ensure the churches can distribute family grocery bags full of a variety of quality food, so healthy meals can be prepared at home. They’ve also supplied ‘treats’ to go in the kids activity packs.
Financial contributions have come from Family Space, through its ‘Feed Cheltenham‘ campaign, from Witcombe Parish Council and from The Welfare Trust, as well as generous donations from the churches, local community, individuals and businesses. The team has used their donations to ‘top up’ the food donations from Morrisons and to provide fun craft activities to go in the activity packs.
The project was suggested by Catherine Milsom, the ordinand at St Paul’s Church. She said, “I have been overwhelmed with the support this project has received and we will be planning more ‘Greenway Gifts’ projects in the near future- hopefully doing something similar at Christmas time.”
Families will be able to come on three different dates over the half term break, to collect food packs, activity packs and Christian Halloween treats and leaflets. A team of volunteers behind the scenes has stepped up to shop, store, prepare, advertise and share information about the scheme, with some of them coming along on the day to help distribute the packs.
Susan Cooke, Vicar of Greenway Benefice (Badgeworth, Shurdington and Witcombe with Bentham) said, “We’re so proud of our partnership with the school. It enriches our church community and is always part of our prayers and planning. Everyone got behind this project very quickly and we have been delighted and overwhelmed by the generosity of the churches, the community, individuals and businesses. They all want to help the families of the children who attend the school, and families in the village whose children go to other schools. It is our Christian duty to feed those who are hungry and to love our neighbours. I think we can safely say that we are doing our best to achieve that in a great community partnership.”
Jon Millin, head at Shurdington Church of England Primary said, “We’ve got such an amazing link with our local church and we see the school as an extension to the church. That partnership enriches the children’s understanding and gives them that support network. They have regular prayer meetings and they know that there’s someone available to talk to if they need it. We’ve worked hard with the church on the ethos of the school and the church is fundamental to everything we do.”