Bernies Xmas Appeal

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Funding & support from The Clare Foundation: Buckinghamshire Community Board supports local residents over Christmas

Following our Christmas projects roundtable in October, The Clare Foundation were keen to provide a grant to the Haddenham and Waddesdon Community Board to support their festive activities.

The team were planning to adapt their annual Buckinghamshire Children’s appeal in response to Covid, to ensure that vulnerable families across the county would have access to support – both festive food parcels and Christmas gifts.

Using their community minibus, known as Bernie the bus, the Councillors and volunteer team were able to bring the Santa float to communities and bring some festive cheer. Bernie the Bus was used to collect food and toy/ Christmas gift donations; which were then distributed to support families in need.

The team managed six Santa runs with the Christmas float before tier 4 came into effect and they delivered three mobile Santa Grottos. These activities took place in 15 villages across North Bucks. Only one Santa run was cancelled; and there are plans to deliver an Easter themed visit to that area instead.

The 2020 campaign actually turned out to be extremely successful; with the team amassing their biggest ever haul of Christmas presents, which was amazing. Their efforts were recognised and came to the attention of the BBC South news crew and they appeared on the local news.

Alongside the Bernie the bus activities, the team also created an online crowdfunding page – which resulted in the generous residents of Bucks raising over £30,000. This has enabled the team to create a new charity that will aim to abolish child poverty in this county.

“Without the support of The Clare Foundation and Buckinghamshire Community Board this would not have been possible. Families with low incomes, vulnerable adults, elderly who are socially isolated, children in crises, animal charities and community groups have all benefited as well as the villages that got to enjoy Bernies Santa runs!! Roll on Easter!” Paul Irwin, Chairman of communities and Localities at Buckinghamshire Unitary Council, Councillor for Stone and Waddesdon Division

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