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Norwich church Growkids project supports local families

A Norwich church has launched a project to offer clothing and equipment for babies and children aged up to 12 free of charge for anyone who needs it.

They welcome donations and would value the Christian community's support in their bid for Aviva community funding.

Growkids is a project run by Gateway Vineyard Church in Norwich, reports Network Norwich & Norfolk, offering new and nearly new clothing and equipment for children aged 0-12 years, free of charge regardless of employment status, income or faith. It is open every Wednesday 10:30-13:30 at their base at Trowse Sports Hall, The Street, Norwich, NR14 8SP.

Some people come for a one-off need while others come a little more regularly and enjoy a hot drink, slice of cake and a chat. Growkids was inspired by a similar project in London and organiser Katie Lillystone dreamed of doing something similar in Norwich to help support those in need in the city. The aim of the project is to empower and support people, whether it is a 'one off' need or a longer term need for support.

Katie said, "We've started small intentionally as we've built the team of volunteers, a supply of donations and a system to sort and store it all, but already we have been able to meet the needs of around 30 families and we're building our links with other support services in the city in preparation for the next phase to reach more people which this funding will support."

Social isolation and loneliness is a significant issue for many parents and carers with young children and Growkids provides a safe and welcoming environment for people to come and meet some friendly people and develop friendships.

Feedback has been very positive, not only of being able to fulfill their practical needs - people don't quite believe there isn't a charge! - but also of the friendliness and welcome available to all. 

There are also opportunities for people to develop their confidence, skills and experience by volunteering if they want to. Anyone who would like to help on a Wednesday or join a sorting team during the week to go through and organise donations is invited to get in touch.

Growkids has applied for Aviva community funding in order to purchase some racking so they can safely manage the stock of donations. They also want to develop the kitchen to provide a lunch and are also in need of a washer/dryer for donations that need washing first.

To vote for Growkids to receive Aviva funding, click here.
For more information please email or visit their facebook page.

PHOTO: Katie Lillystone with some of the donations

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