The directors of Purple Elephant are delighted that they have been awarded a grant of £6,000 from Frome Town Council. This significant sum will allow the vital work of the organisation, established in 2015, to continue in the town.
Originally founded to offer the day-long, annual, free Frome Children’s Festival, Purple Elephant has now expanded to offer a number of year-round services. These include the ‘Toy Library’ lending service with weekly play and learn sessions where families can access basic parenting advice; ‘Small Steps’, a new early years, early-intervention service, giving targeted parenting support to families with pre-school children.
During lockdown the company also set up their ‘Befriending’ service which offers support for children aged between 5 and 12 years. Initially run via Zoom, the support is now transitioning to face to face sessions.
The impact of Covid19 clearly revealed a great need for support for disadvantaged and vulnerable families in Frome and local villages. Initially focusing on offering at-home activities for children, Purple Elephant gifted free resources of craft materials, books, games and toys, delivered via schools and Fair Frome, to families on free school meals. As Covid impacts progressed the offerings became bespoke activity packs for children in need of home learning support or with mental health challenges. Over 1500 activity packs have been distributed with free, personal, home delivery, allowing Purple Elephant staff to check in with the family, offer doorstep support and refer cases of distress to partner organisations and agencies.
When government ruling allowed, Purple Elephant have also provided ‘Family Holiday Fun’ during school holidays. Activities include crafts, forest school, sport, cookery and fun-science, delivered by experienced activity providers and family support staff on-site, available to assist families with additional needs. This service runs in partnership with Fair Frome who offer a free lunch to all who attend as well as providing volunteers.
There is of course still the much-loved free Children’s Festival, with around 30 different activities for children of all ages including theatre, sports, crafts, storytelling, forest school and music. The festival, which hosts up to 3,000 people in non-Covid times, has also now grown to include a training opportunity for young people who help with design and delivery.
Purple Elephant are most grateful to the Town Council and, as director Sue Willis explains, “We have gone through a rapid growth in the past 18 months identifying and responding to the needs of many vulnerable families in Frome. The support given to us by the council is amazing and now, as we have become more or a vital service-provider than we had ever imagined, we are reaching out to local businesses to please join us as sponsors. If you’re a local business, get in touch if you’d like to be a part of our amazing Purple Elephant community.”