Residents across North Poole have supported our councillors over the last few weeks in making sure that local children don’t suffer.
At half term, a pop up pantry was set up in the Broadstone Liberal Hall and residents filled the space with food and essentials to get through a week without Free School Meals. Charities, social workers and community groups referred families to the pantry and we delivered parcels around Poole, Bournemouth and Dorset.
As well as food, we received generous donations of cash that we used to make sure that everyone had what they need and we were able to use what was left to start our Christmas Appeal.
In late November, Dorset Council launched an appeal for coats and pyjamas to Keep Kids Cosy and councillors across Mid Dorset and North Poole collected around their communities for the campaign which was open for families to pop in and grab a free coat to assist with outdoor play in the Winter months.
Councillors then launched Toys and Treats for Tots to Teens which saw local communities show their generosity once more. After contacting local schools in Broadstone, Corfe Mullen, Bearwood and Merley we identified 395 children in need of treats and set about making sure we could put a smile on each face.
Separately, in Canford Heath, cllrs worked with their residents group ARCH along with the local baby bank to provide extras for children in their schools and nurseries.
Councillors also reached out to ask for toys and gifts that could be supplied to Children’s Social Care, replacing the annual collection that would normally take place at the Broadstone Christmas Parade. The response was overwhelming. Toddler toys including the classic Fisher Price Telephone, soft toys, books and crafts right through to puzzles and games, construction and superhero toys for children and discovery items, smellies and tech toys for teenagers were received and several hundred children either in care or supported by a social worker will be receiving a gift this Christmas.
It is distressing to think that the number of families struggling to manage bills is rising and while those in absolute poverty might be reducing, one in four children are defined as living in poverty. 100,000 children in the UK do not have a winter coat and go without at least one meal a day because their parents cannot provide for them.
As your representatives, we will do all we can to support policies that will help to lift households out of poverty and to push the Government to recognise that living in poverty can have lifelong negative impacts. You can sign our petition calling for the expansion of free school meals HERE to help us in our fight against child poverty.
If you would like to join us, you can volunteer to help our campaigns or why not consider standing for election. Click here to contact us – we’ll buy the coffee!