Here at Reading Family Aid, we’re in touch with a large range of organisations and charities that help families in need in the Reading area. Over the last few months we’ve been working closely with five of them to plan a Summer Toy Project, which aims to give these families and children a reason to smile after a particularly stressful few months.
The Summer Toy Project is a new initiative that we are launching on 13th July. In order to enable us to distribute toys to children in need, we have set up some Amazon Gift Lists which will provide toys to our partner charities.
We were keen to find out more about how these organisations and charities help families in need and we spoke to a few of them.
With the ongoing stresses that COVID-19 is bringing to families, First Days explained that over the last few months, families have had the hard task of finding new ways to engage and entertain children at home, often with limited space. A representative said:
'Being able to request new toys and games from Reading Family Aid has meant that we have been able to put together fantastic and varied toy packs for families referred to us at this difficult time - something to help keep children entertained and take the pressure off parents at a time of great stress. As the economic impact of the pandemic increases, we anticipate that even more children and families will need our help and it is great to have a head start with so many brand new items to give out to those who most need them.'
Among the toys that First Days recently received were packages for a family who are isolating due to illness and a little boy who had a birthday recently and whose mum was struggling financially. These gifts brought great joy to both families.
Donate to First Days here.
Another organisation, the Weller Centre, is committed to providing a community centre mainly to those in Lower Caversham. Many of their visitors have no green space of their own and the centre has a green area beside the centre which visitors are encouraged to enjoy.
They will be able to use toys provided by Reading Family Aid, 95% of which can be used both indoors and outdoors, such as giant versions of snakes and ladders, dominoes and noughts and crosses.
The centre also runs family fun days throughout the year and plans to lend toys and games out to families to be used for a few days at a time. The team at the Weller Centre truly believes that the centre belongs to the community so would love them to have a say in some of the upcoming decoration of the garden area – hence they are hoping some craft kits will be purchased.
Donate to the Weller Centre here.
Home-Start Reading has had toys delivered to their offices and are planning to distribute them to coincide with the end of the school term. After a difficult and uncertain few months, it will give the children they work with something new to look forward to as the schools break up and the long summer holidays start. Home-Start Reading said to us:
'We are really grateful for the amazing generosity of Reading Family Aid for providing such a lovely amount of indoor and outdoor toys for our families. We cannot wait to start delivering these to our supported children, who we know will be very pleased and excited to have something new to enjoy throughout the summer holidays.'
Donate to Home-Start Reading here.
Our fourth organisation, Alana House, is a community project providing a confidential, women-only, non-judgemental space for women who feel they need help. A holistic approach is used to support and empower women and enable them to make positive changes in their lives, thereby improving the outcomes for themselves and their families.
Donate to Alana House here.
Amongst the stresses and uncertainties of everyday life during this unprecedented time, Reading Family Aid and the organisations we work with are committed to bringing some joy and smiles where we can.
We hope you will join us in buying from our Amazon Gift Lists so we can help more families this summer.
The Reading Family Aid AGM was held on July 2nd - over Zoom of course!
The Chair, Ruth Perkins, gave a report of the year, contrasting the first very successful first half to the year followed by a challenging second half with Covid-19 putting a stop to many of our activities.
She also said how pleased she was at the way the committee had risen to the challenge of finding news ways to support the families.
The Treasurer, David Berry, reported that while income was slightly up, expenses had increased over the previous year but still funds were in reasonable shape for the coming months.
You can read the Annual Report here.
This is where we share our news and inspiring stories of how people have supported us.
Read previous newsletters here.