'It has taught our children how to care for others' Charitable family feed homeless after day of homeschooling

A Cleveleys family who have spent the third national lockdown stuck inside homeschooling have still found extra time to feed families in need across Lancashire.

Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 12:28 pm

Sylvia Parkes and her sister Rebecca live together at Crestwood Avenue, Cleveleys, and have spent the last few weeks homeschooling their children Jodie, 12, Jack, 7 and Lottie, 5.

But as well as battling the school books and joining virtual lessons, the family have been giving out food parcels and cooking meals for families across Lancashire in need from their cafe.

And according to Sylvia, all three children are improving in their school work and going up class sets despite learning from home.

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Sylvia Parkes and sister Rebecca Parkes with 7-year-old Jack, 12-year-old Jodie and 5-year-old Lottie

Her daughter Jodie studies at St Mary's High School but has only spent one month in school since September due to the lockdown.

Sylvia, 30 said: "My daughter Jodie has been homeschooling since the very beginning. She is still excelling and going up sets in her classes and has even been moved to the 'high fliers' group where university tutors teach them.

"I think positivity feeds positivity, and me and my sister have gone the extra mile to make sure our children are comfortable with learning from home. So many parents are struggling now being at home with their children, so I am hoping if they see positive stories like ours, they will know that they can do it too.

"The schools are all being brilliant with them and are giving lots of feedback in between their classes. We are just keeping positive and encouraging them and are there to help them if they need it.

The Cleveleys family have been having success with homeschooling

"We have to put in the extra work as parents because it is the children who will suffer if we don't. The kids are going through so much at the moment and it is a very strange world for them. We need to make it as normal as possible."

Her sister Rebecca has two children, Jack and Lottie who are also learning from home with virtual classes and activities.

The two sisters also used their time in lockdown to feed families in need across Preston and Blackpool from their cafe 'Mags Beach Cafe' on Bolton Street, Blackpool.

Their little ones also joined in after their days of homeschooling to help out, by helping with shopping and delivering food parcels and even helping to wrap more than 600 presents at Christmas.

Sylvia added: "We have been open in lockdown to cook food parcels for those in need. We have been feeding the homeless on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings, but during Covid we noticed how many families still struggled to put food on the table.

"We found pages on Facebook where people who were struggling could ask for help with food, and we started making food parcels and delivering them to people with the kids.

"We had donations given to the cafe from people and then took the children out shopping to pick up the food and separate it into different bags to give to families who were isolated or struggling.

"It doesn't take a lot to help other people, and we even had a lot of people contact me from my daughter's school who told us they were really struggling. We found so many people are too embarrassed to ask for help.

"If anything, it has taught our children the importance of caring for others and helping those in need. They absolutely loved getting involved."

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