Community initiative feeds over 1,600 families

LIVERPOOL City council has thanked a community initiative for ensuring that over 1,600 families received a boost to their kitchen cupboards during the pandemic.

Positive about Play, led by Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services (LCVS) and Merseyside Play Action Council (MPAC), has distributed funding to 35 play schemes in the city which have given out almost 6,000 food hampers, lunches, breakfasts, and food bags since 3 April.

Funding to feed families was donated by The Mayor’s Hardship Fund, The Youth & Play Service, LCVS, and The John Moores Foundation.

The families that have received the deliveries are usually supported by the schemes in the school holidays.

Over 4,500 arts and crafts play packs have also been given out, with 650 more being given to Liverpool City Council’s children’s centres. Funding for the play packs was given by LCVS, Liverpool City Region through the Community Foundation For Merseyside, the Steve Morgan Foundation, and the PH Holt Foundation.

Positive about Play’s support has meant that vulnerable families can stay healthy, particularly those who are self-isolating or who have found it hard to get to the shops because of caring responsibilities.

The support will continue until 12 June. By then, the partnership will have given over £77,500 in grants and plans are now being made to support up to 72 play schemes throughout the summer holiday period.

Some positive feedback from the play schemes has included:

“Arts and crafts packs from MPAC have been gratefully received by the children one said it’s like Christmas every day.”

“The funding has allowed us to ensure that families within the L6 area have sufficient food to feed their families whilst protecting themselves by following the social distancing rules.”

“The children have been made up to see staff delivering food and crafts. We have been blessed with good weather so the kids are actually able to shout and see the staff. A lot of them are feeling confused and frightened so it is heartening to see a piece of normality.”

“The funding has enabled us to ensure that there is some routine in children’s lives as this has been lost by not attending school.”

Said Cllr Barbara Murray, cabinet member for education, employment and skills: “This is yet another example of the incredible drive that there has been in the city to make sure that our vulnerable families are kept safe and well. We are always proud of how our communities pull together, the last few weeks have proved that again and again.

“Our sincere thanks go to Positive about Play for the funding. We must also acknowledge the ingenuity of the play schemes in putting together the food parcels and making sure that not only are families fed, but that they are fed well.

“As well as the food the play packs have also meant that we have been able to keep children engaged which will give their wellbeing a further boost.”

Colin Heaney, Co-CEO, LCVS, said: “Play is hugely important both for children and their families. The commitment and dedication of the staff and volunteers across the city never ceases to amaze me, and their response during the current crisis is a great example of what can be achieved when we work together across sectors.

“We look forward to getting the play schemes back up and running when it’s safe to do so, but in the meantime we will do everything we can to support children and families across the city.”

Kevin McIntyre, manager, MPAC, said: “Positive About Play is a unique collaboration between the third sector, Liverpool City Council and charitable trusts. This collaboration enables the people of Liverpool to consistently achieve great things for their communities especially during difficult times.”