Calderdale’s kindness is shining through once again, as thousands of pounds worth of donations are being made to support children and young people to learn from home during national lockdown.
Building on the success of the Never Hungry Again fund launched last October to end child hunger in the borough, Calderdale Council, the Community Foundation for Calderdale and schools are helping to provide free laptops and meals to pupils most in need whilst they are being home schooled.
Many families are struggling financially during the pandemic due to spending more on food, electricity and home schooling. The Council, schools and partner organisations have continued to help the most vulnerable local pupils and families throughout, and this now includes supporting remote learning again until at least February half-term.
The Council is pressing the Government to provide laptops and tablets as quickly as possible under the national scheme. To help Calderdale families who don’t have access to this vital technology, the Council, the Community Foundation for Calderdale, the Valley Learning Partnership and the Calderdale Partnership School Improvement Board have started fundraising to provide free equipment to the families most in need.
So far, in just two days, they have raised over £30,000. To boost the fund and help even more pupils to receive the best possible education at home, local people are invited to donate to the Laptops for Learning Appeal at https://localgiving.org/charity/cffc/project/laptopforlearning/(external link)
Cllr Adam Wilkinson, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, said:
“Thank you to all the schools and families who are working so hard to teach during the pandemic. It’s really important that all our children and young people stay healthy, keep learning and remain connected to their teachers, social workers and friends throughout lockdown. To do this, they need quality meals and access to technology at home. For many families this can be a struggle, so we’re delighted to launch the Laptops for Learning fund to get digital devices to families in need.
“It’s a great achievement to raise over £30,000 in only two days, and we know that many more people want to help to ensure more laptops can go to our most disadvantaged local families.
“The Never Hungry Again campaign has raised an incredible sum of over £100,000 so far thanks to the kindness of our communities. This fund is still open for donations to ensure pupils continue to get good-quality, free meals, building on the excellent work of our schools to provide packed lunches, food parcels and vouchers.”
Steve Duncan, CEO of the Community Foundation for Calderdale, explained:
“At the beginning of lockdown last year we identified that our three main priorities to support our community during the pandemic were food and food distribution, mental health, and digital exclusion. We are pleased to be working with Calderdale Council to address these issues and improve the quality of life for the people of Calderdale. We believe that it is important and vital that young people are able to receive an education and have the proper tools to access this.”
The Council is providing direct support to vulnerable families who have been most impacted by the pandemic, who have access to free school meals. Through the Government’s COVID Winter Grant Scheme, the Council has paid out around £734,000 to eligible families to help with food, energy and water bills until after the February 2021 half-term. It also continues to support and link residents up with local foodbanks.
Grants from Calderdale Council and the Community Foundation for Calderdale in 2020 have also been helping families in need across the borough, by supporting the work of local voluntary groups.
To donate to Never Hungry Again to help eradicate child hunger in Calderdale for good, please visit https://localgiving.org/charity/cffc/project/neverhungryagain/(external link) The campaign recently gained the support of celebrity couple and comedians, Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont.
The work to increase access to quality food and IT equipment is part of the longstanding partnership work to tackle poverty, reduce inequalities and build hope through the Vision2024 for Calderdale.
The year 2024 marks Calderdale’s 50th birthday. Where do we want to be by 2024? Find out more at www.calderdale.gov.uk/vision