A WINCHESTER charity brought 15 families together during a two-week event.

Home-Start’s Summer Fun Club gave young children and their relatives a chance to enjoy themselves after being locked down.

The charity had become concerned that the people it supports had been significantly disadvantaged.

Its main aim was to encourage them to socialise again, improve parental well-being and prepare children for the return to school and nursery.

“We have mostly been supporting our families through phone calls and grocery deliveries once a week since March,” said senior co-ordinator Liz Stannard.

“A doorstep chat doesn’t really take the place of a visit by a trained volunteer so parents with fragile mental health have suffered during this stressful time.

"Most families have found home educating their children a challenge and they will have fallen further behind their peers once they return to school.

"It has been wonderful to see the children running around and playing freely after such a long time under lockdown. The parents too have gained confidence being out and about and chatting with other adults.”

The Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Patrick Cunningham, who has chosen Home-Start as one of his charities this year, called in and was warmly greeted by the youngsters who were fascinated by his mayoral chain.

He was soon taking part in activities in the playground and seeing the artwork that children and their parents had created.

Each day play and craft activities were themed on popular children’s stories including The Very Hungry Caterpillar, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and Elmer the Elephant.

On Tuesdays the Grubby Hands team came along and led the day’s sessions where parents and children were able to try their hand at weaving, modelling with clay and making dream catchers.

Local businesses supported the Fun Club by donating lunches with pizzas provided by Dominos and fish and chips courtesy of Rick Stein.