Volunteers and workers in Thamesmead raced against time and impending new Covid-19 restrictions this week to deliver food and toy hampers to hundreds of families.

A Christmas Appeal led by Peabody in Thamesmead, south east London, aimed to deliver nearly 200 food and 175 gift hampers to families across the borough.

But plans were thrown into disarray when Greenwich Council announced plans to close all of its schools amid soaring COvid-19 cases.

The team had been planning to deliver the gifts via schools later in the week, but quickly adjusted.

Then came the news of an impending move to Tier 3 lockdown restrictions, and the team of volunteers and staff were left with just one afternoon.

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So they mobilised, delivering more than 400 packages to shools and over 30 housholds in just one day.

Local schools "responded brilliantly to the sudden change" and were able to help co-ordinate the distribution, despite the heavy pressure they were under.

With London now in Tier 4, these gifts and hampers will surely mean a lot to families facing uncertainty of the festive period.

Peabody’s Communities Facilities Manager in Thamesmead, Fiona Hamilton, said: “The demand for hampers this year has been greater than ever because of the impact of Covid.

“Our corporate partners, local businesses, community groups and residents all rose to the challenge and were more generous than ever, despite often facing tough times themselves.

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“Monday’s announcements meant we had to bring everything forward at very short notice. Local schools responded brilliantly to the sudden change and were able to help co-ordinate the distribution, even though they’re under so much pressure at the moment.

“Thanks to the schools and the incredible hard work of our staff and volunteers we delivered all the hampers in one afternoon, meaning hundreds of local children will have something to open on Christmas morning and families can enjoy a festive meal together.”

Stephen Harris, Executive Headteacher of Heronsgate Primary School, added: “The parents receiving the hampers were surprised and very pleased. It’s great that Peabody could organise and deliver them in such demanding circumstances.”

Peabody’s Thamesmead Christmas Appeal has been running for the past five years, working with individuals, corporate and local businesses to provide vulnerable families in the town with food and toy hampers every Christmas.