Support You Can Count On by Eleanor Hindman, The Weald

The turmoil of recent years has affected millions of families around the world. As we begin to see the ongoing impact of the pandemic on the economy, local charities like FSW have to work even harder to ensure families get the support they need.

Family Support Work (FSW) has been active for nearly 140 years, working to support families facing financial difficulties, mental health issues and domestic violence.

Alyson Heath has been Chair of FSW since 2015 and in this article she talks about the work of the charity and the impact it has had on the lives of many.

FSW has supported over 440 families in the past year alone and works tirelessly to ensure the whole family is well looked after, with a particular focus on the well-being of children. The charity worked with around 1,302 children last year, providing them with enough food, clothing and toys to ensure they grow up in a stable environment.

When asked about the ongoing impact of Covid on food banks, Alyson said: “The food supply is not going down. People are still incredibly generous. And indeed it has increased. So we hope it will continue like this.”

Alyson’s optimism about the situation comes as a surprise, but she credits the charity’s prosperity to both the hard-working members of the FSW and the generosity of the people of West Sussex.

“The message really got through in Pulborough,” she says, “I’m really happy with how the village has taken it.”

This is evident in the immense number of donations the charity has received over the past year, with over 4000 food deliveries going to families in need.

“With prices going up and certainly with what has happened over the last few months, it would be nice to say when I get up at meetings that we are closing, there is no need. But actually, the need for food is immense. It’s just huge.” (Alyson Heath, Chair of FSW)

There are currently 21 staff working for FSW in East West Sussex, each working to ensure the safety of local families in need.

Members provide each family with a meal basket each week that includes donations from people across the county.

Although their main focus is to ensure families have enough to eat, they also provide additional support around the Christmas period. The charity provides families with “Christmas baskets” containing a turkey, Christmas treats and advent calendars for the kids.

“It’s stuff like that that kids talk about at school, open their advent calendars, but some of these kids don’t have.”

FSW’s willingness to do whatever it takes to improve the lives of children and their families is truly inspiring and shines a light on the incredible work they do every day. While they make sure families receive basic needs, they also provide them with the little things they need to thrive and grow. Support You Can Count On by Eleanor Hindman, The Weald

Fry Electronics Team

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