Our Stories: Purple Elephant

Purple Elephant run summer holiday activities for children in Frome, helping to support families in need access support and make memories. Sue Willis, Founder of the charity, tells us more about their work.

"I started Purple Elephant five years ago with a passion to help local families who weren’t able to take advantage of the opportunities locally. A lot of families struggle in the school holidays. Many of those we support have free school meals or additional family support, which isn't available outside of term time. 

Some people struggle to feed their families every day.

All our activities are open to everyone, but the people we are really trying to support are those facing a challenge in their lives; those on very low incomes, with children with special needs, or those with challenging lives who need a bit of extra support.

Funding from Somerset Community Foundation's Somerset Fund helped us to run our summer activities programme and Toy Library. The children’s activities are free or very low cost, so everyone can access them. We provide a range of sessions: from creative activities to help the kids be imaginative, to getting them into the outdoors, or taking them on a day trip away from home. 

For many parents, it’s a chance to get out of the house and come somewhere relaxing and supportive. It can help take their minds off the challenges of the day. 

If a stretched mum of four comes along, she can spend some dedicated one-to-one time with one of her children, helping to strengthen that bond, and our support workers can make sure the others are well looked after. They can also provide gentle support to parents who may be struggling with those crucial early years parenting skills. 

One mum who comes to most of our sessions has two teenage girls who both have special needs, and one is a wheelchair user. She told us that our sessions are the only thing she can access so, without us, the summer break would be incredibly tough. 

For those who can’t drive or who struggle to afford activities for their kids, having something on their doorstep is crucial. We also pair up with a local charity, Fair Frome, who provide lunches every day, making sure those struggling families can have a wholesome, healthy meal. 

A lot of parents tell us our activities are a godsend."

 

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