30 July 2021

Supporting families through the school holidays

With recent news reports indicating that increasing numbers of families struggle with paying for food and other necessities during the school holidays, Morvyn Sanderson, Youth Worker for the Darlington Methodist Circuit, shares how The Well in Darlington is supporting the local community over the summer months.

We have been running our Make Lunch Kitchen in partnership with TLG for five years. We invite people that need support in the school holidays to come and have a two course hot meal and we provide activities for the families that come along.  

The pandemic meant we weren't able to provide this in the way that had been. We moved to a Bag of Hope - which provided groceries that we delivered.  Now we are starting to open the kitchen up again as the restrictions reduce.   We are keen to see families return, however the booking system and ensuring everyone feels comfortable is difficult. 

We are finding that families are all experiencing the pandemic differently,  some are desperate to get back to normal and others are struggling to get out again.  We want everyone to feel comfortable in the church and to know they are welcome. Make Lunch is about building relationships so we are keen to have people back in the building, even if that means masks and keeping our distance.

We would also normally be running a week long holiday club for children in the holidays.  We took a decision that this would not happen this summer. We are running three Super Thursdays instead. These are happening outside, family focused events so that everyone feels able to participate as much or as little as possible.  Our first one went well and we think it hit the right balance for our families.

We have reopened the babybank that offers free baby clothes and equipment to parents. This was a delivery system in lockdown but we have gone back to being open as normal now. It has been a very popular resource for the town and we have an increasing demand for it. We are strongly supported by the community giving us donations.  It is increasingly difficult for people on low incomes to make their money stretch, so we know that whatever we can do as Church to help families makes a huge difference.  At The Well we want to be a beacon of Hope in our community and we hope that we are able to offer that to the families that we support.

Morvyn Sanderson, Youth Worker for the Darlington Methodist Circuit

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