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London South East Colleges launch ‘virtual’ Santa Dash to support #FestiveFEFoodbankFriday

@LSEColleges is spreading some festive cheer in the run up to Christmas by launching a national virtual Santa Dash to support its #FestiveFEFoodbankFriday campaign.  

The fundraising initiative was first launched in March at the start of the first lockdown. Over £6000 was raised by staff and students on a virtual platform, which was distributed to foodbanks across Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich. Colleges from around the country joined the campaign, supporting their own local foodbanks and collectively raising almost £45,000 – the equivalent of over 54,000 items. 

As demand for foodbanks sadly remains high, the College has now re-launched its fundraising efforts with a festive twist. With campuses open again, food donations are being collected across all its sites as well as money continuing to be raised via Just Giving.  

To help keep momentum going and donations flowing, the College is organising a virtual Santa Dash on 13 December. Staff and students will be encouraged to go for a walk/jog/cycle or run and ‘donate their kilometres’ to the #FestiveFEFoodbankFriday fundraising page and post pictures of their efforts. It is hoped that colleges around the country will take part, supporting their own local foodbanks while having some festive fun!  

20 other colleges have already signed up to the re-launched campaign, aiming to collect 30,000 items (collectively) plus raising a further £12,000 on the national Just Giving page. The donated food and money raised so far is the equivalent to almost 6,000 items, which is enough to provide 258 three-day emergency food parcels.  

Principal and CEO of London South East Colleges, Dr Sam Parrett, says:  

“This has been a tough year all round and the lead up to Christmas is likely to prove even more of a challenge for many people across our Boroughs. The pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s health, mental health and finances. As a social enterprise, we are committed to supporting our local communities as much as we can.  

“I am incredibly grateful to all our caring staff and students who are helping to make this campaign such a success. It is also fantastic to see other colleges around the country coming on board to help their local foodbanks, demonstrating the even greater impact we can have collectively.  

“Please do support #FestiveFEFoodbankFriday and help to make Christmas a bit brighter for local families.”  

Greenwich Co-Operative Development Agency was a recipient of some of the money raised by London South East Colleges during the last ‘FE Foodbank Friday initiative. CEO Claire Pritchard says:  

 “There is increased demand for food aid across the country, as a result of increased levels of poverty, which we expect to continue through to Christmas and beyond. We are grateful for both food items and monetary donations, allowing us to help as many people and their families as possible.  

“A small donation can go a long way – with £17.50 being enough to provide an individual with the essentials they need for three days. 

“Thank you to everyone at London South East Colleges for their help and support, it really does make a difference to so many people.”  

With six more Fridays to go before the campaign ends, there is still lots of time to donate a few items or make a donation. The national Just Giving page can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/FestiveFEFoodbankFriday 

The 20 FE Colleges signed up to the campaign so far are: 

London South East Colleges 

Bournemouth and Poole College 

City College Plymouth 

Bmet 

Nelson and Colne College Group 

East Coast College 

Harlow College 

Greater Brighton Metropolitan College 

Burton and South Derbyshire College 

Kingston Maurward College 

College of West Anglia 

Central Bedfordshire College 

Peterborough College 

Stamford College 

Education Partnership North East 

 

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