KIT KAT CLUB - AN APPEAL FOR HELP 

Kit Cat Club started back in August 2012 with five children aged 5 - 11, we now have 30 aged 5 - 14, some we have lost along the way (we have over the years probably seen some 60 children).  We run every Thursday in the school holidays and to start with the team of volunteers who supported this venture came from the House Group I attend, however, as the number of children we cater for has grown, so too has our volunteer helper pool, we currently have around 15 helpers to call on, we usually require a minimum of 10 and obviously not everyone can do each session.  You may be aware that Kit Cat Club was set-up on the way God spoke to me, following my housegroup's study on 'Is there really poverty in Great Britain today'.  Following the course I heard an article on Radio 5 Live about the struggles of families in school holidays where children who received Free School Meals could often go without in the long summer break.  I felt I was being challenged by God to see if there was a need for families/children in our community to receive support and I met with the School Nursing Team and Public Health Nurse for Buckingham and surrounding villages, who advised that there was a definite need and so Kit Cat Club was born (when I was growing up, a Kit Kat bar was advertised with the slogan "Have a break, have a Kit Kat" and this is actually what we are trying to achieve for both the children and their families.  
 
I have been wholeheartedly supported by my connect group but most importantly we see God at work in the lives of these children. The children come for varying reasons, but they are all referred to us as being 'in need'.  It is not a club that is open to the general public, they are all referred to us by the Public Health and School Nursing Teams and so this is most definitely an 'outreach' programme reaching families who have a real need.  We have been able to feed some of the children into Messy Church, Explorers (formerly Heroes) and a number attend Blaze.  Last year we managed to send seven children to Bitternes Afloat over the Easter holidays.
 
As we are a team of volunteers and we all have other commitments, we have to put a limit on the number of children we can take at any one session.  We have over this summer had 27 (this is too many, the optimum number is between 20 and 24 per session).  We have some of our current children with siblings who are old enough to join, but we have no facility to cater for them, how do I take one or two from a family and then say no to a brother or sister?  The school nursing team have another 6 primary aged children they would really like us to take, but as we are self-funding, it does come at a cost to the individuals who help.  Our main aim was and is to provide a hot meal and pudding for the children.   I have a few generous helpers who cook for us and more who provide crafts and games, all at their own expense, which means that donations we do receive can be used towards our annual summer day trip, a trip to the Buckingham Community Pantomime and purchasing of craft items etc.  This year we took 23 children to Mead Open Farm and had a fantastic day out.
 
We can continue with Kit Cat as it is and not take any more children; the other option is for someone in our church to hear God speak, just like I did, and set up a new group for the 11+ age group (there are currently 8 of them, however the School Nurse Team feel that they could also refer some in this age group to make it a really viable group although they will still need feeding a hot meal) this would free-up much needed space in the 5 - 11 age group.  To be honest, this will probably be an easier group, as they won’t necessarily want all the craft activities, but it is such a great way to build relationships with them.  
 
I know that the volunteers from within our church family already give so much, but I cannot help feel that God does not want these young people to fall by the wayside, which is why I am writing to you.  This is not another weekly meeting, it is once a week during the school holidays (we currently do not meet over the Christmas holidays, instead we go to the Buckingham Community Pantomime).
 
All children are special and I know all the volunteers who help out at Kit Cat Club feel that we are providing a valuable outreach not only to the children but to their families as well, we have gone from children not eating anything to eating seconds or thirds, those that are shy and awkward opening up and having a real chat, we have talked, shared, laughed and cried, made numerous crafts, some edible and some definitely not and most importantly we have provided a safe haven for these children just to be children.  
 
If you are challenged by what you have read and want to know more, please speak to me.
 
Christine Barrell
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 07779 149418
 

Will Pearson-Gee, 25/10/2016