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Eat, Sleep, Learn, Play! celebrates 20,000 grants

Victoria, 23, husband Simon, 26, and15-month-old Oliver-James are a family on the cusp of poverty
Victoria, 23, husband Simon, 26, and 15-month-old Oliver-James are just one of the families helped by our Eat, Sleep, Learn Play! programme

Today Eat, Sleep, Learn, Play! our UK early-intervention, crisis grant programme, celebrates a significant milestone. We’ve now awarded 20,000 grants since the programme started in 2011.

For four years now, Eat, Sleep, Learn, Play! has been changing families’ lives by giving them grants to buy items that they wouldn’t normally be able to afford, like children’s beds, cookers, pushchairs and fridges.

Every child should be able to have a home-cooked meal, a warm bed and the chance to learn and play in their own home. But too many of the UK’s poorest children miss out on these essentials.

By reducing these obstacles to the wellbeing and development of children growing up in poverty, the programme gives children a chance of a better start in life.

What’s more, by reducing the financial burden on families who would otherwise struggle to afford vital household items like a bed for their child, or a cooker for the kitchen, the grants can help to alleviate family stress.

“I was actually crying – I didn’t expect anything”

The 20,000 grants have helped nearly 42,000 children. We’ve provided grants to buy 1,665 children’s beds, 2,350 cookers, 2,485 pushchairs and 2,834 toy and book packs.

One mum from Glasgow told us, “Save the Children have made things so much better. We were awarded a cooker. This has helped us financially and I am so happy that I can cook all my baby’s meals from scratch so I know what she is eating. Everyone was so helpful!”

Similarly, a dad of two from Cardiff told us: “When we got the pushchair, it was brilliant. My partner was able to go places with the children on her own, taking them to school and everything. I was actually crying because I wasn’t really expecting anything.”

Small things change lives

One mum told us that, after we gave her a grant to get a bed for her son, his life was transformed. Instead of waking up through the night, he started sleeping soundly – and was actually excited to go to bed.

Providing a bed can improve bedtime routines which, in turn, improve quality of sleep and can enhance concentration in school, aiding the learning and development of a child.

Another mum from London said, “I am so grateful for all the help Save the Children have given me. I can’t afford to buy toys and books for my children but, now that I can sit and read to them, the children are much happier.”

For each of the 20,000 grants we’ve given out over the past four years, there’s another story to tell. Cookers, pushchairs and beds might be the kind of things that many of us take for granted, but they really can change children’s lives.

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