Gemma and Ceiran had been struggling financially since ill health forced Ceiran to retire from the police force in 2018. By the beginning of 2020 they could no longer keep up repayments on their shared ownership home and had made the difficult decision to sell it. They had a buyer ready. Then Covid-19 hit.
The house sale went on hold, Gemma was put on furlough, and Ceiran was forced to shield at home during lockdown. Ceiran became very ill, with two stays in hospital, leaving Gemma at home with their three young children.
The children’s primary school put them in contact with The Red Hen Project. We have been delivering fruit and veg boxes from Cambridge Fruit Company since March 25th and have also given the children resources such as chalk, pens, paper, toys, books, as well as activity packs from our art partnerships. We are now helping the family by applying for grants for them for various items. They are facing homelessness and expect to go into temporary accommodation.
Gemma said: “Red Hen have been absolutely brilliant providing us with fruit and veg boxes, sometimes meat. My kids love fruit and veg but buying that constantly adds up. It really helped. It took a bit of the strain off.
“When my husband was shielding and when he was in hospital, I was on my own. Having things brought round to our house really did help. I would have had to take the kids with me if I went out.
“They brought round toys and books for the kids. It’s been really nice for them to get little presents. It’s been a little bit of excitement for the kids. They love getting books. It’s been comforting.
“Sarah comes round quite a lot and it’s great to chat to somebody else. It makes you feel you’re not alone and you’re not the only family like it. It does sometimes feel like you’re the only one.
“Red Hen are absolutely amazing. They have been a life saver. In one week, our washing machine broke, our bed broke and our TV broke, and straight away Sarah helped us. They’ve been a lifeline. If there is any way they can help, they will.”
We are fundraising to help Gemma and Ceiran and other families like them get through the summer holidays. Please donate to our Red Hen Box appeal, which is delivering ready-made boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables to families during the 6-week break.
If you are a family in need, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.