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Social care provider supports School Days with stirring SOUP Event

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A local social care provider hosted a community event in Wokingham to offer local organisations the opportunity to raise awareness of their work and pitch for funding for their community project.

The event, hosted by Optalis at the Westmead Centre, gave members of the community an opportunity to come together and listen to a range of community project ideas, allowing them to influence and support the positive changes taking place around them. Through a secret ballot, all attendees were able to vote for the project they were most inspired by.

The winner of the night’s donations was School Days, a project set up in partnership between First Days Children’s Charity and Wokingham United Charity. The scheme works to provide children aged 4-16 with preloved school uniforms and equipment, supporting Wokingham families in need.

School Days was awarded the funds raised during the evening along with matched funding from Optalis, amounting to £250. With the donations, School Days will be able to purchase uniforms and school equipment when a preloved option isn’t available.

Currently, 4.1 million children are living in poverty in the UK and families living below the minimum income standard simply cannot afford school uniforms. And, with uniforms costing on average per year, per child £251 for primary school and £316 for secondary school, the work of School Days is invaluable to the surrounding community.

Jodie Reichelt, Customer Experience Champion at Optalis, commented; “The SOUP event gives local people a fantastic opportunity to create new connections and support projects happening in their area.”

Continuing, she added; “We are  delighted with how the evening went. It was rewarding to see the support for local projects and see everyone coming together to discuss ideas and share resources.. We’d also like to wish School Days every success for the future, and hope this donation will be of benefit to the families they work with.”

Lindsay Browne, School Days Project Co-ordinator, remarked; “Thank you so much for allowing School Days to be part of Thursday’s event and even better the project was the recipient of £250. An amazing bunch of people attended and it was so nice to hear that the value of the project is being recognised and so many people are keen to help where they can. What an amazing community we are all part of!”

Two other local organisations, Wokingham Garden Share and Just Around the Corner (JAC) also attended the event and pitched their ideas to the community.

Along with bread and refreshments, SOUP made by the Optalis Bridge that Gap café and Munchbox was served at the event. Bridge that Gap café and Munchbox provide individuals with learning disabilities an opportunity to gain customer service skills by serving freshly made lunches whilst working towards paid employment.

SOUP Events originated in Detroit where communities developed the idea of crowdfunding for local people and causes. The idea has since been introduced to communities across the UK, with this event the second to take place in the Wokingham area.

Optalis provides a variety of tailored care and support services to older people, people with dementia, learning disabilities and/or physical disability and mental health conditions.

For more information about Optalis, contact 0118 977 8600 or visit www.optalis.org

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