Here’s how we support the North Cotswold community
Through the network of primary school Parent Support Advisers, Health Visitors, District Nurses and Home-Start, North Cotswold Community Awareness provides help in the form of children’s clothing, school uniform, shoes, books, stationery, toys, baby equipment and household goods.
Assistance is given with funding when professional counselling or therapy is required for psychologically damaged children, or when it is considered a child would benefit from social interaction or an unaffordable school trip.
Supporting Vulnerable Families
Despite all the outward signs of affluence, the North Cotswolds has a large number of low-income families experiencing tremendous financial hardship and deprivation. It is a fact that almost 25% of people working in the Cotswolds earn less than the living wage which impacts seriously the ability of parents to provide, sometimes even the most basic necessities, for themselves and their children.
In 2010 a voluntary organisation ‘Community Awareness’ (CA) was established to raise awareness of the challenges faced by these families, who struggle to do the right thing by trying to provide for their families. Health and social problems often add to the difficulties they face, and the main concern of CA is that of the children, who through no fault of their own find themselves living in less than desirable conditions. Sometimes, there is not even a bed for them to sleep on!
Agencies such as Parent Support Advisers (working in primary schools), Health Visitors, District Nurses, and Home-Start give support to the families, and it is through these agencies that CA is able to provide help. Statutory funding is unavailable for most of the situations that arise.
Community Awareness is able to respond immediately when there is an urgent requirement for funds to alleviate the various crises that occur.
Helping Low-Income Families
Local families are really struggling to feed, clothe and provide a warm, safe environment for their families. Community Awareness provides help with the basics of the household budget. We don’t give out cash, but we can provide food parcels, supermarket food vouchers, children’s clothes and shoes, as well as essential white goods for the home.
The stress of avoiding debt, or trying to get out of debt can take a huge toll on the mental health of parents and this has a knock-on effect on the whole family. Community Awareness works with amazing local play and family therapists to try to alleviate the tension of constant stress – making the family home happier and safer.
Providing Christmas Parcels
We all know that Christmas is a time for families and from October onwards we are all bombarded with images of happy families with groaning tables of food and stockings well-filled with presents. This is not within the reach of many of the families we support, where simply feeding their children every day is a struggle.
Each year the families designated by the agencies as being the most desperate for help, receive two deliveries from North Cotswold Community Awareness.
The first is in early December and contains a gift for each child in the family, plus toiletries, stationery, a family game, puzzles, books and crackers. We also provide wrapping paper so that the parent(s) are able to “own” the gifts – they come from them.
Just before Christmas, we provide enough fresh food for the holiday period – locally sourced meat, fruit and vegetables, with some festive treats like mince pies and biscuits.
In 2010 we delivered to 15 local families, last year we reached over 100 families thanks to Mid Counties Co-Operative Society, Paddock Farm butchers, North Cotswold Rotary Club and many donations from local schools, private individuals and businesses.
During the pandemic, we shifted to providing vouchers instead of physical presents and were able to support more families than ever.
Words cannot tell you what a difference you have made.
For me as a professional, I would be unable to do my job as effectively if I did not have you to turn to. For me to be able to console and reassure my families, who are at rock bottom and despairing, that I am able to access your help, is invaluable.
You prevent adult mental health from deteriorating further which has a direct impact on their parenting and ability to cope and to see a future. I have families you have supported in past years who are now back on their feet and helping others, rather than needing help themselves.
Thank you to you all, your hard work, effort and commitment is very much appreciated and I am indebted to you all.
Why are these people being so kind? They don’t even know me…
Thank you so much for getting us a fridge, I cannot believe people can be so kind. After losing our income due to COVID we had no idea how to fund this.
I cannot thank you enough.
Last Christmas we were really struggling with knowing how to pay for everything, then we had vouchers and food delivered and it changed our Christmas for the children. It meant we could buy presents and not worry, or get into debt!
I cannot begin to express my gratitude to you all for your hard work and dedication in helping to improve the lives of many of our local families. As a professional working with vulnerable children and parents, you provide instant support and reassurance at times when it is most needed.
Your ongoing help has enabled many children to access mental health support, play therapy, clothing and food.
Thank you all so much.
We would like to thank all the lovely ladies that helped us at Christmas. In what had been a very hard year, you made our Christmas they truly made our Christmas so special, not only for our children but for my husband and me.
What they did for us was truly amazing and we are so grateful. The presents and gift cards they sent us took so much pressure off and helped so much. Seeing your children’s faces light up on Christmas morning is one of the greatest joys. The food boxes that they arranged and were delivered to us were wonderful. We had everything there so we could enjoy meals as a family over Christmas. I was worrying so much about Christmas and how on earth I was going to afford it.
Thank you so much, everyone, we are forever grateful.
I cannot thank everyone enough. I don’t know how, as a family, we would have coped without the help and support that we have been given from Community Awareness. The hardest thing is to ask for help but WOW the support given just blew us away and we are truly grateful and will never forget the generosity, emotionally and financially.
Thank you again.
Liz, you have made me cry with the offer of help with presents and food. It is just incredible, myself and the kids are so blessed to have you all.
Thank you, this time of year is always hard and I’m so appreciative of all the help. I really appreciate the food too, they do some beautiful food so. Thank you.