Dear Friends,

I am writing this as the Harvest donations arrive thick and fast following Harvest Festival services at the start of October. The foodbank is starting to fill up nicely after a period of being rather low on stock, and we are extremely grateful to all the churches and their congregations who have been so generous during the last few weeks. More and more of our families are asking for food support now so it is wonderful to be able to provide them with help in this way.

Since September there has been a continued stream of new referrals, as the new school year brings issues to the surface that may have been hidden over the summer. We are spending a lot of time in meetings with schools, supporting parents in achieving the most appropriate help for their children so that they can thrive. One parent wrote to their practitioner earlier today after such a meeting, saying: “Thank you so much for meeting me this morning. It was so lovely to finally feel there is light at the end of the tunnel.” We were able to take 12 families to Dalesdown for a weekend residential in early September, which proved to be a wonderful time with unseasonably nice weather. Activities included cake decorating, stick man craft, football tournaments and the ever-popular prize bingo!

Our charity shop in Eastbourne was closed for 2 days at the start of October whilst staff and volunteers carried out a refurbishment. It is now fully open for business again, but we are in urgent need of donations, particularly ladies’ and men’s autumn/winter clothing and children’s toys and games. If you have any good-quality items you would be willing to donate to the shop, we would be very grateful – these can be dropped off directly at the shop (26 Cornfield Road, Eastbourne) during normal opening hours (Mon-Sat 9am-5pm) or sent to our head office in Brighton.

Our Christmas plans are well under way, with parties being planned by nearly all our practitioners, as well as arrangements for Christmas toy and food collections. If you would like a member of staff to come and speak at any point during Advent we would be delighted to do so, but do get in touch with us soon as diaries are already filling up! Please contact Spencer on 01273 832963 or if you would like to discuss.

Nikki Kerr, FSW Director of Fundraising and Marketing