There are children and families near you facing a summer of unprecedented need – for basic support including everyday essentials such as food.
Right now, schools in your neighbourhood are looking at how to stay in touch and provide for their families over the summer. Your church can be an invaluable part of that solution.
Did you know …
Before Covid-19, 4.1 million children lived in poverty, of which only 1.3 million qualified for free school meals. That’s 2,800,000 children struggling to get fed every day. Now, millions more families are now also facing financial insecurity, worried about how they can keep food on the table.
Following the intervention of Marcus Rashford, the government has extended the school meal vouchers worth £15 per week per child over the summer in England, with Northern Ireland looking to follow, mirroring existing plans in Scotland and Wales. This is good, but to quote Marcus Rashford, ‘there is still a long way to go’.
With the end of the school year fast approaching, we need to act now and here’s what you can do:
Here are some good places to start:
- Get in touch with a school in your area and discuss their needs. Our experience is that, while stretched, schools are very open to this kind of help, particularly when backed by national programmes. Offer to help with food, deliveries, activities and other support if you can.
- Find support from national networks, who are on hand to help you get set up quickly, and have thought through the issues for you. Check out the suggested partners below.
- Partner with other churches in the same area, who may have already started to respond.
- Let us know your situation by clicking the ‘start the conversation’ below so we can look at further support related to school / church partnerships.
We are here to help you do that quickly and efficiently. Whatever size church you are, and whatever capacity you have, you can make a difference.
Transforming Lives for Good (tlg.org.uk)
Transforming Lives for Good (TLG) have over 20 years of experience equipping local churches to meet the needs of struggling children and their families across the UK. They know how to enable your church to work well alongside a local school. They have made some introductory guidance freely available to help get started.
But more than that, through their Box of Hope emergency response, they’ve already equipped over 100 churches to meet the needs of their local community. And they want to help you too! They will give your church everything you need to get up and running quickly, including £200 start-up funding and a comprehensive package of support including resources and guidelines. And when we say quickly, we mean it! You could be up and running within a week.
Love your neighbour (loveyourneighbour.uk)
Love Your Neighbour (LYN) is a nationally scaled, city-centred and locally tailored response of churches and other civil society partners to the social challenges caused by COVID-19. It exists to transform the on-the-ground availability of food, friendship, advice and training to vulnerable and isolated people such as the shielding, unemployed, indebted, homeless and other groups who are falling between the cracks in existing provision.
There are city hubs and local partners you can link up with and can work with you to support your local school.
The Message Trust and YourNeighbour.org are getting in touch with churches in areas with the most need – so that our national resources are put to best use. Along with all the partners mentioned above, we are constantly looking to improve the support we give to churches; listening, responding, communicating so we can make the most out of our collective experience where circumstances are rapidly changing.
Audacious Foundation works alongside the community to educate, encourage and empower people to overcome life’s challenges and live a balanced, healthy life. This summer we are working in partnership with YourNeighbour.org; encouraging churches and community groups to engage with their local primary schools as together we address lockdown hunger in the UK.
In addition to the city hubs mentioned above, there are hundreds of local networks across the UK. It’s worth reaching out and making some connections; you don’t need to join with others, but often doing so will give access to resources and experience, as well as building new relationships. We’d encourage you to look at the websites or speak to other churches in your area, any food bank or similar local community activity, or check in with your local authority.
“Our families have felt remembered, valued and ‘worthy’ of someone’s time and energy. As a school we are so grateful for the way [our local church has] willingly gone the extra mile and considered it a joy to help our communities together.”Primary school in Manchester