A COMMUNITY shop is looking to support struggling families in Swindon.

Mountford Manor Primary School is among those to benefit from a generous initiative by Walcot Community Shop, which has donated £1,000 to support children whose parents are finding it hard to pay for food or clothes.

The charity is directed by Peter Mallinson, who decided to act after reading a story in the Adver about the number of Swindon children living in poverty.

Family support worker for the school Suzanne Gregory said: “We will be able to give food to families in need.

"We can replenish the stock so we can provide food boxes to families. If there is a family with holes in shoes or they need clothes we can use this money for that.

“Without this money we wouldn’t be able to do that. We have seen an increase because of Covid but we always have families in need. Also, circumstances have changed for lots of people so this has all come at the right time and we are lucky to have access to this and other charities who have supported us."

Mountford Manor Primary School has a higher than average number of children living in poverty as it is in Park North, one of Swindon’s most deprived areas.

“It can stop their learning if they’re cold or hungry so they can’t concentrate, small things make such a big difference,” said Suzanne.

“This is such a big thing that we can do this for them.

’Hopefully this will be a long-term connection with the school and a long-term project for us.”

The community shop is run by volunteers, who are on the lookout for people of any age who require their assistance.

Mr Mallinson said: “We need to start finding people to help. We rely on people pointing us in the right direction or them being referred to us.

"It’s very difficult to find genuine people so we have made mistakes and given it people who don’t need it.

"Because of that we are giving them support rather than just handing over money as you can never be sure what it’s spent on.

“We have helped people before, for example when a lady was mugged coming home from shopping we gave her £80.

"There was also a woman who was travelling to hospital for cancer treatment so we paid all her fuel bills.

"Or if people come in to the shop and can’t pay for something we will give it to them because that is what we’re here for.

“We don’t want to go through another organisation because we don’t know where the money goes so we would like to help people directly.

"If there is anyone who can tell us if there is people in need. We don’t want to embarrass people, the ones who are generally in need are private people.

“Some people may have lost a big part of their income and with winter on the way, they may have to choose between feeding themselves or paying the bills.

"We want to help people of any age, within our capabilities, as there is a limit on who we can help.”

If you are struggling or know someone who is in need of support contact Peter Mallinson on 07554 000590 or email peter.mallinson@ntlworld.com