‘We’re a little bit overwhelmed’ ­– Childminders’ Christmas food hamper campaign to help families through Home-Start Stevenage takes off

Joanna Wells, (Organiser), Gayle Cook, (Home-Start), Maggie Charles, (Manager Home-Start) and Sarah

Joanna Wells, (Organiser), Gayle Cook, (Home-Start), Maggie Charles, (Manager Home-Start) and Sarah Budden, (Childminder) - Credit: Archant

Two Stevenage childminders who run a support group have thrown their weight behind a festive food hamper campaign to help families living in the town.

Joanna Wells and Sarah Budden, who together run the Aiming High Childminding Support Network Group, hope to have made up to 30 hampers by Christmas with the help of fellow childminders, and have already started passing on their bundles of joy to Home-Start Stevenage to distribute.

“We chose Home-Start Stevenage primarily because we’re working with children and we wanted what we collected to go to families,” said 46-year-old Joanna, who lives in Wansbeck Close.

“We wanted to bring it a bit closer to home and more local so it’s more meaningful to the ages of the children that we look after – it’s really important to teach our children that not everyone is as lucky as they are or even have as much food as them.

“It’s more poignant around the Christmas period, everyone is getting treats but some people aren’t lucky enough to have that.”


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Joanna, along with Sarah, 37, had orginally planned to take a hamper to someone as an individual gesture, but changed tact after thinking about how many children members of the group look after could benefit through learning.

The hampers all contain a mixture of basic foods so families can make good, wholesome, filling meals, and are combined with a few treats for the season such as biscuits and advent calendars too.

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“There are probably around 50 families involved and I imagine we will have made nearly 30 hampers by Christmas,” said Joanna.

“It is a lovely amount for 30 local families and must admit we’re a little bit overwhelmed.”

About their partnership with Home-Start Stevenage, she added: “I spoke to their finance officer and she was obviously really pleased with the offer. They’re handing them out to the families they work with – those who are feeling isolated and struggling.

“We’re all child care professionals and we understand how hard parenting can be and it’s fantastic that Home-Start work with parents who feel isolated.”

If you would also like to show your support for families in need, Joanna is encouraging members of the public to make a food donation direct to Stevenage Community Food Bank. Visit stevenagecommunityfoodbank.org.uk to find out how.

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