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Charlie from PEEK supporting families

Critical support over Christmas: an update on PEEK

Christmas dinner is always slightly different wherever you go. Some families cook up a traditional turkey, others roast mountains of potatoes and some even brave the dreaded sprouts. But however this annual feast turns out, it’s such an important part of so many families’ festive traditions that without it, Christmas would feel completely different.

For some families though, the enjoyment of a Christmas dinner isn’t guaranteed. With the pandemic still creating huge financial strain and the loss of many jobs, more than ever this year there will be families who struggle to put food on the table.

According to latest statistics, 30% of UK children are currently affected by poverty, and whilst it is unclear what the long term impact of the pandemic might be, we know that Covid-19 is negatively impacting families in many different ways.

In particular, access to healthy food has been a real problem for some communities already affected by higher levels of deprivation.

That’s just one of the reasons why, with your help, BBC Children in Need provides funding for PEEK (Possibilities for Each and Every Kid). You might remember PEEK from earlier this year, when we met Charlie, a Community Chef who helps to cook and deliver healthy meals for families who are struggling.

Charlie from PEEK providing support for families
Charlie from PEEK providing support for families

PEEK exists to support local communities across Glasgow, through outdoor play, community arts, youthwork and community development projects and nutritious food has become a core part of their work. Their outreach approach supports children and young people most affected by deprivation.

Now, with Christmas just around the corner, the support of charities like PEEK is more crucial than ever.

Michaela has been with for PEEK for 20 years and is in the unique position of having been a participant, a volunteer and now, the CEO of the charity. She’s seen first-hand the impact that the pandemic has had on families in Glasgow.

“There have been lots of local community outbreaks,” she says. “Due to closure of hospitality – some of our families have been financially impacted through furlough and job loss. We know families are struggling, not just to put food on the table, but to keep their homes warm during the winter.”

Michaela
Michaela

Many of the families supported by PEEK are also self-isolating and shielding, and Michaela says that the isolation is impacting mental health and wellbeing.

“Some of our families have no recourse to public funds,” she says, “and without our support, they have no-one else to turn to.”

Thanks to your donations, PEEK can continue their vital work, delivering around 500 healthy cooked meals per week to local families across the city who are in self-isolation, shielding or financially impacted.

During the upcoming festive break, when many families will enjoy tucking into a Christmas dinner, PEEK will also be providing 200 children and young people with a nutritious three course meal, in addition to weekly fresh fruit and veg boxes for 150 families during the school holidays.

PEEK supporting families
PEEK supporting families

But their support goes above and beyond providing access to food, and throughout the coming winter months they will also be helping families to stay warm and well.

“More than 500 children and young people are being sent a new winter jacket and wellies to support them whilst playing outdoors through the winter period,” says Michaela, “80 families are receiving food vouchers and we’re also delivering 200 activity packs and Christmas Eve boxes to children and young people with new pyjamas, socks and underwear.”

With restrictions continuing to change across the UK, and uncertainty likely to continue for some time, Michaela and her team are also working hard to prepare for the new year.

“In Glasgow, we are coming to the end of being placed in Tier 4 restrictions,” she says. “This has meant our face-to-face delivery has had to stop and all non-essential shops and businesses have had to close. But our team are currently in the midst of re-designing our programmes so that they can operate under all current and potential future restrictions.”

This Christmas is likely to be especially tough for many families, whether due to isolation or financial difficulty, but thanks to your donations, charities like PEEK can provide hope and support in this challenging time.

“PEEK is about relationships,” says Michaela. “Our families trust and confide in us and we go to any lengths possible to support them. We are so thankful to everyone for supporting us and championing our approach. It helps us to make a huge difference to the lives of many families, children and young people.”

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