FAMILIES on low incomes and struggling with debt tucked into hearty Christmas meals thanks to a coronavirus fund grant from Dorset Community Foundation.

The Bus Stop Club in Ferndown cooked and delivered more than 50 meals to individuals and families in Ferndown after receiving a grant of more than £1,000 from the Foundation’s Dorset Coronavirus Community Fund.

The fund has already distributed more than £800,000 through more than 200 grants to groups across the county.

The charity, based at the Turbary Resource Centre, works with dozens of families through its Christians Against Poverty debt help service.

It also runs after-school activities, a community store cupboard and anxiety management classes.

Project manager of the 15-year-old club Susan Sutherland said: “We usually have a Christmas dinner here in our centre for the families we work with but this year we couldn’t do that so we took it to their doorstep.

“A lot of people contact us when they are at the very end of their tether and are often suicidal. CAP gives them hope and we tell them that we can get it sorted within a few years.

“We have seen 26 people go debt free since we began CAP and that’s a huge thing for people.”

Aside from support and advice, the charity provides practical help. The group’s after-school activities have been converted into home delivery of craft packs for a young people to 20 families a week.

The packs, put together by staff member Lucy Harding, feature games and creative activities for young children and whole family.

Families who received the packs were also given Christmas goodie bags thanks to a donation from Sainsbury’s.

The Bus Stop team cooked and delivered the meals over three days in the lead up to Christmas.

Mrs Sutherland added: “By taking these meals out we are helping them to feel that someone is thinking of them and that we care. A lot of them live from week to week and they feel forgotten.

“We are so pleased to get the grant from Dorset Community Foundation because it is covering all our costs.

“We were able to do a slap-up meal with meat from the butcher and a lovely bag of treats, just to say ‘you have not been forgotten, we are thinking about you’.”

Dorset Community Foundation chief executive Grant Robson said: “Bus Stop do brilliant work helping families at times of real crisis by providing advice and support that is genuinely life-changing.

“We’re so pleased to fund these meals so that families don’t feel left out.”

Find out more about the group at thebusstopclub.co.uk and donate to the Dorset Coronavirus Community Fund via the link at dorsetcommunityfoundation.org.