SMUFFIES (St. Mary’s Under-Fives) takes place every Tuesday during term time and is open to all, offering a quality environment for play, education, and social support for carers.
Average attendance is 14-16 parents/carers and 19-21 children per week, with an increased involvement from grandparents as carers. Our minimal charge of £1 per family is much appreciated by families, as charges elsewhere in the town rise to £2 per child.
Our charitable fundraising in 2013 was for UNICEF’s Children of Syria emergency fund. A Sponsored Toddle around St Mary’s churchyard in March, weekly cake-sales and termly raffles resulted in a final donation of £315.98.
Smuffies raised £60.28 for Comic Relief with a cake-sale in March and in November Smuffies raised a further £126.20 for Children in Need by selling Pudsey Bear biscuits and cakes.
At last, after seven years of rain, the Summer Party took place in the Vicarage Garden, attended by lots of parents, grandparents and children. A bouncy castle, trampoline, slide and swing accompanied party food and cream-tea scones, and our leavers-for-school received book tokens.
With Dave Bailey’s assistance, Santa visited our Christmas Party in December, giving twenty-four children gifts of storybooks.
In December we created almost sixty sparkly fish with photo-faces of all Smuffies-attenders to decorate the “Jonah & the Whale” tree for St Mary’s Xmas Tree Festival. A good number of Smuffies families also signed up to take part in the ‘Posada’ Advent journey of the Holy Family around the parish, and several families are regular attenders at the 4 o’Clock Service.
Rotas for helping out work well, although anyone willing to help with Smuffies at coffee-time would be greatly appreciated! A small group of mums are supportive of the termly ‘cleaning the toys’ session.
Smuffies meets every Tuesday during term-time from 1-3pm in St. Mary’s Parish Hall and is open to anyone caring for babies and children under school age.
Contact: Kim Harding 01833 637018 or Frances Stenlake 01833 637334