ONE thousand craft and gift-filled “Easter in a Bags” were sent out to preschools, nurseries, schools, home school groups and individuals in the Fordingbridge area.

This was made possible by a 50-strong team of volunteers at Avon Valley Churches (AVC).

Some of the special bags were requested nationally and even internationally after a social media post went viral.

AVC’s other outreach projects during lockdown have included half term and Christmas in a bag, cupcakes to care homes and children, and, in partnership with The Cottage Loaf in Fordingbridge, delivered hundreds of hot cross buns to The Burgate School and Sixth Form on Maundy Thursday.

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These outreach projects, which have involved local businesses, have been funded by generous individuals within the Benefice through the AVP Youth and Community Trust.

AVC’s youth, children and families development worker, Jo Heath, who masterminded and coordinated a team of dedicated volunteers to make each project happen, said: “It has been a privilege to join together to prepare Easter in a Bag. A huge thank you to Gail in the office and the amazing team of volunteer helpers and drivers.

“We could not have done it without their commitment, enthusiasm and encouragement. It is our pleasure to offer these gifts to many of our local children and home educating families and we are delighted to invite them to join with us to celebrate this time of year in spite of the restrictions still in place.”

Preparations for the Easter in a Bag project were recently filmed by BBC South Today.

AVC has also launched its Yellow Ribbon of Hope campaign.

A large display has been put up outside St Mary's Church in Fordingbridge to help inspire hope. 

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Burgate School has also joined in the Hope campaign.

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Students have written messages of Hope to coincide with the gradual easing of lockdown and the arrival spring after a difficult year.

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