We’ve checked in with one of our alumni who’s all the way in the UK! Kuljit Singh Walia, better know at Agassiz as Chief Cool J, works at a small children’s charity in Leicester which is one of nine adventure playgrounds in the city. Here’s what he shared with us how his organization is helping those in need during the pandemic:
St Matthews Children’s Action Group is grant funded and supported by donations and operates a free service for children’s right to play. We run throughout the year and on all holidays except for the Christmas break. We offer free food everyday and free lunches over the holidays. We are all based in economically disadvantaged areas of the city and therefore the service is free for children to come and go.
We know that many children have free school meals and do not receive these when the schools are shut down, which can cause hardship for them and their families. Our meals are a blanket cover for those who are hungry or in need of food. They especially need this help now and Fareshare, who provides surplus food to food banks and the adventure playgrounds all year round, has been essential and amazing in our fight against hunger.
Currently, we’ve been able to provide play packs for families to collect games and arts supplies, and food goes out on Mondays to families that need it. We’ve been given emergency funding from our local City Councilor to provide these play packs that our children and I are grateful so for now that we’re under lockdown.
My wonderful dedicated staff team have been handing out supplies to families that come to collect what they need in this time of crisis. We miss seeing our children playing freely here and we know they miss the normality they enjoyed, so what ever we can do to help, we will.
Agassiz Village played a very important part in my life and I learned so much there and made so many like minded friends that I still have today. For me it was a magical place I will never forget. Agassiz and the children that we worked with are always close to my heart, and I know the staff and counsellors who were there, are still playing their part supporting their communities, because that’s what Agassiz does. Thank you for your support from across the pond. It’s amazing to see how the Agassiz family has found themselves helping others across the world!