In the face of lockdowns, restricted activities and the cold and wet winter, we have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to engage with our communities over the last six months. From advent windows to gardening we have been busy meeting up, talking, walking and networking! Support from local community organisations is fundamental in helping us to continue reaching families. Along with receiving some generous donations towards our campaigns, local communities have helped us to reach the people that need our support, increasing awareness of our services in the areas we cover.
Living Advent Calendars
Christmas seems a long time ago now, doesn’t it?! But we really enjoyed engaging with local businesses in December 2020.
In Buntingford, we joined forces with the Buntingford Chamber of Commerce. The shops in the town centre displayed beautiful Advent posters, with a new image to find every day in December. Children were encouraged to collect an answer sheet from their local Co-op store, find the windows and take part in an Advent design competition.
And in Royston, we were delighted to work with lots of different businesses and residents, who created a huge “living advent calendar” by putting up beautiful window designs all over the town.
Royston Christmas Experiences
They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and that is certainly true of four Royston businesses. When COVID restrictions meant that Christmas activities for children couldn’t go ahead – House of Parties, Tent Share, Kelly’s Kitchen and Sleepy Creations put their heads together and, under the umbrella of Royston Christmas Experiences, created a travelling Santa’s Grotto, with a range of activities and treats suitable for every taste. Proceeds from this magical experience were generously donated to Home-Start.
Royston Community Garden
The community garden at Royston Tesco was suffering from a year’s worth of neglect, having been closed during the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. Home-Start volunteers helped to restore the garden, making it once again a fabulous resource for local groups and families. Haven’t visited the garden yet? You can find it at
(whatever the address is. I can’t find any info about it online. Maybe we should try and advertise it more! Also: image)
Walking Markets in Melbourn and Buntingford
Did you spot our stall at the walking markets in Melbourn and Buntingford? It felt great to be out and about again – meeting lots of different people and being able to tell them about the work of Home-Start and how we are supporting families in their villages.
Dedicated supporter Linda Bance and her wonderful community Choir “WomenSing,” have continued to meet on Zoom all through the lockdowns, and the members have generously donated their choir fees to Home-Start. Linda has also organised two raffles – one at Christmas and one at Easter – with all proceeds coming to Home-Start. Thank you so much!
Kelly’s Cake Kitchen
Over the Easter holidays, we teamed up with Kelly of Kelly’s Cake Kitchen to run a family-friendly bake-along. Kelly hosted a live Facebook event to go along with our cookie ingredients packs, for families to create some yummy Easter cookies with her help and guidance! So tasty!
RBN and MBN
We are delighted to be part of the Royston and Melbourn Business Network meetings. Through these excellent local business networks we have:
- signed up a new trustee
- received donations “in-kind”
- received offers of support at future fundraising events, and
- been made aware of funding opportunities.
All RBN and MBN meetings have been via Zoom since March 2020. We can’t wait until we can all get back to seeing each other face-to-face; these groups have offered such practical and emotional support during what has been a very difficult year for all businesses and charities.
Local Businesses Supporting Home-Start
Finally, we would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to Tesco Extra Royston, Co-op Melbourn, One Stop Shop Meldreth, Fieldgate Nurseries Meldreth, Bury Lane Farm Shop Melbourn and Leech’s Butchers Melbourn. These local stores have been extremely generous, kindly donating items for our Mother’s day raffle, Easter Bake-Along and in preparation for our Cake Stall at the Meldreth Walking Market.
We are so delighted at the support that our local businesses show to us: their support is invaluable to us, and we really cannot express how grateful we are.