Windfall will help disadvantaged children with their learning

When Cheshire charity Passion for Learning launched a request facility on their website they expected 100 responses within the first week.

“The reality was we ended up getting 130 requests in the first 24 hours,” revealed Viv Couche, trustee and development manager.

The charity, which assists children from some of the most disadvantaged areas of Ellesmere Port, Chester and Winsford, were inundated with so many online requests for help they had to temporarily take down the webpage.

Passion for Learning is a volunteer organisation, normally working with children in schools on a 1:1 basis or through its network of after school Enrichment Clubs. 

The charity aims to support and inspire children who need extra help, whether that’s with their confidence, their reading or a range of other challenges to their learning at school.

Passion for Learning weren’t able to get any income from the schools during Covid-19 and were awarded an initial £12,453 in April by the Steve Morgan Foundation which enabled staff to deliver more than 7,000 books and 500 activity packs to youngsters.

Passion for Learning, which was set up by CEO Diane Clark, applied to the Steve Morgan Foundation for help again and were awarded secondary funding of £25,857, which was match-funded by Cheshire Community Foundation, meaning they received a windfall of £51,714.

Viv Couche said: “I can’t begin to tell you what a difference it has made to us as a charity and the difference it enables us to make.

“Without the funding we wouldn’t have been able to meet the rise in demand. We’ve had 1,400 requests for help through our website which gives you a sense of the scale of the need.”

The charity works with a lot of children who don’t have access to resources to help with learning at home, like books, games, pens and paper.

Viv said: “Covid-19 represented an unprecedented challenge but we’ve risen to the need. More than 3,000 children have received deliveries of learning resource packs to keep them engaged and emotionally well at home.

“We also increased our reach by inviting targeted referrals for resource requests and partnered with Warrington Youth Club; Gypsy, Roma and Traveller education support; the refugee support group CHAWREC; Starting Well Service; Women’s Housing Action Group; and Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation.

“People who have been struggling with teaching their children at home have been able to request extra resources.

“We have been assisting Syrian refugees in Ellesmere Port and Chester. Just this week we delivered 300 bags of resources to a primary school in Warrington for the most vulnerable children to use during the summer.”

Viv said Passion for Learning changed their approach by asking the people they support what they actually need.

The charity has also been able to recruit 20 new volunteers to help with packing and delivering resources to homes, many of whom had never heard of Passion for Learning before but who are happy to be able to help.

Viv said: “The £51,714we’ve received from the Steve Morgan Foundation and Cheshire Community Foundation will enable us to carry on helping young people, especially through the testing long summer holiday. We’re so grateful for this and the feedback we’ve received from families tells us how much they appreciate this too.”

The Steve Morgan Foundation’s Covid-19 Emergency Fund has now made 539 awards across Cheshire, North Wales and Merseyside totalling £5,211,592, directly benefitting 1,299,129 people.

Jane Harris, director of regional funding at the Steve Morgan Foundation, said: “Learning and education is a critical part of the work of the Steve Morgan Foundation which is why we’ve been delighted to continue supporting Passion for Learning.”

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