Supporting families with children in New Milton, and building a brighter future for them, is the key vision of Ashley Family Hub, a collaboration between Ashley Infant School, Ashley Junior School, Arnewood School and Ashley Baptist Church. This key vision is underpinned by being welcoming to everyone, being open and honest, being respectful to them all, while building positive and lasting relationships with those families.
In recognition of the valuable work they do, New Milton Town Mayor, Cllr Alvin Reid, was proud to announce them as his nominated charity, having visited them in 2019 and meeting some of the families, listening to their own personal stories and pleased to hear of their positive outcomes. In fact, the Mayor learnt that support from the Hub has been life-changing to many families who attend.
During his term of office, the Mayor has promoted his Collect Coppers for Charity and the community of New Milton have responded enthusiastically, digging out the coppers from the bottom of their sofas and emptying their penny jars. A total of £550 in coins was found and counted. On top of this a further £1,300 has been raised for the Ashley Family Hub. Generous donations from guests who were due to attend the Mayor’s Charity Ball in March, cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as fund-raising from the Annual Carol Service in December 2019 and the Annual Civic Service in February 2020.
In response to the Collect Coppers for Charity, the Mayor said: “Everyone gave a little, eventually it made a big difference to the local community. This initiative has now closed, please don’t drop off anymore ‘spare change’ to the Town Hall! I thank everyone for their collective contributions”.
The Mayor presented the £1,850 cheque to Sarah Dibben, Headteacher of Ashley Infant School, and leader of the Ashley Family Hub, thanking them for their continued service to families in need and even more so for being there during the last few months of COVID-19 restrictions, and in the months to come.
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant the Hub has had to look at new ways to support families. Social media has provided the link to news and ideas. Zoom has been used for virtual coffee mornings. And by working in partnership with Waitrose and Tesco, food parcels have been arranged for families in need.
Sarah Dibben said: “We continue to explore how the Ashley Family Hub can re-open to support local families and we are currently finalising plans to re-open in a Covid-friendly way as soon as possible. In the meantime, families can contact us via our Facebook page or website for advice and support”.
Sarah was pleased to report that even though families found lockdown challenging, they have been very resilient, and with the support of local schools and agencies, the community has done a great job.
For further information
Contact: Graham Flexman, Town Clerk, New Milton Town Council
8 December 2020