What a year, full, jam packed, heaving, overloaded with fear, pain, sadness but also hope, joy and good old hard work. This year we have been able to come together and actually work together. Ultimately, despite what this year has told us, without each other we don’t have very much.
How true was that when Toys 4 Birmingham, who aimed to collect 3,000 toys for children across Birmingham accidently collected 16,500! This is where our story begins.
It’s the start of autumn and we’ve called a meeting with our awesome community network (organisations we are connected with who support families in Hall Green locality) for general updates and conversation. A conversation we thought would end on Zoom but ended up zooming to present day where in a matter of days children across Birmingham will receive toys, books, bears, puzzles, doll houses, crafts, stationary and one special baby will wear the cutest pair of socks “born in 2021”. All donated by Brummies. All gifts have been passed onto parents/ carers unwrapped, with wrapping paper and tape, to make sure they know what their children will unwrapping on Christmas day.
These children wouldn’t have otherwise received gifts because their parents/ carers have suffered the most during this pandemic because they lost their job, lost the breadwinner to Covid or have been unable to leave the house due to Covid anxiety – among other reasons.
But through to the power of partnership Emma at Birmingham Play Care Network and Fred from Thrive Together Brum were able to see an opportunity and space for hope. Emma said: “Our connections with grass roots organisations who support the most vulnerable families will ensure that these gifts are received by children who really need them and are often missed out by other appeals. Play should be an essential part of every child’s Christmas and this appeal will go some way to try and achieve that.”
Children and young people are at the centre of the work Hall Green Families do. When we were asked to support this collection we jumped at the chance, the chance to bring some life back into a dreadful year. Thank you Emma, Fred and everyone at Toys 4 Birmingham, including Edgbaston Stadium, for hosting the collection. Thank you for reminding us how much more powerful we are together, even if that means wearing a mask and keeping a distance.
Next year we will continue to host weekly community network meetings, if you would like to join please email Simarjeet.Kaur@accordgroup.org.uk. This is our time together to work out how we can provide the best, coordinated support to children, young people and families in Hall Green, Sparkbrook, Sparkhill, Balsall Heath, Moseley and Kings Heath.