At Stripey Stork we know how important it is that children have the right equipment for school, not just for practical reasons and in order to help them feel positive, motivated, and confident at school. The month of June saw our biggest ever request for school bags and it was a great example of partnership working with our friends at Jigsaw (Woking) to deliver such a positive result for families across Guildford, Aldershot and Woking.
Surrey Baby Bank Forum
One of the Stripey Stork strategic objectives is to be available to all families who need us in Surrey, and last year we established a Surrey Baby Bank Forum to connect organisations who do similar work across the county. By working together and sharing resources we can help more families and respond to the growing need for our services.
Stripey Stork's Bags4School project
At Stripey Stork we have been successfully running our Bags4School project for several years. We have researched products and built up a database of stockists who offer us the best prices. Making sure we have the right equipment is key, and we have worked with young volunteers to document what should be included in the bags for each age group.
Jigsaw, who are part of The Lighthouse family in Woking, also help families prepare for school with PE kit, sun caps, underwear and school shoe vouchers. Working together we were able to provide a complete bundle of items for the 464 children who had been referred to the Jigsaw team. This is the highest number of requests that either organisation have had to respond to and is a sad reflection of the level of hidden need that exists here in ‘affluent Surrey’.
The school bags and contents are all brand new as we know how important it is for young people to fit in with their peers and to have something their can call their own. The school bags are age-appropriate (packed for pre-school, infants, juniors and senior school ages) and each bag contains:
- Pencil case
- Writing pen/pencil
- Colouring pens or pencils
- Highlighter pens
- Eraser, ruler and pencil sharpener
- Activity/puzzle book
- Water bottle
- Maths set (added to junior and senior school bags)
- Scientific calculator (added to senior school bags)
Our volunteers pack these bags with thought and care as we know that by providing children with the essential tools they need for school we reduce any anxiety around being ill-equipped. We want to ensure that every child starts school as an equal and that any financial struggles are not visible. We also aim to make sure that every child knows that they are not alone, that they matter and that they have the same rights and opportunities to education as others.
We are lucky to have lots of local supporters who help ensure that this project is successful. We’re grateful to Jane and Catherine Babbage for their ongoing support of the project, and this year we have also received funding from Trinity Church in Sutton and Croydon Whitgift Rotary.
The Jigsaw team held a giving event at the end of June, and they were kind enough to share feedback from the grateful recipients.
This was a huge effort by everyone involved and we are grateful to our supporters, our volunteers and to the team at Jigsaw. If you would like to get involved and join Team Stork, then please visit our volunteering page on our website.