“If you can give people the tools to help themselves, they can change their lives.”
It is this ethos which has been the driving force behind a new community scheme which has been operating in Fairfield.
Throughout the summer holidays Lia Roos and the Residents of Fairfield Association have fed hundreds of children and organised games in the park to bring the community together.
This is the first year of a summer camp which has been well received by families.
It has been organised by Lia, who along with other volunteers have made free lunches twice a week, for six weeks, to help families.
She said: “I don’t believe in giving anyone something for nothing as they will never learn the value of money, but there are so many hungry children in Fairfield in desperate need of a meal I couldn’t see them starve so decided to put on the free lunches .
“For families who rely on free school meals to feed their children, the summer holidays can be a real financial worry, but no-one will go hungry in Fairfield while I’m here.
“I’ve started to see more people struggling during the holidays so that was when I knew something had to be done.”
With the help of donations from two High Peak borough councillors, Fiona Sloman and David Kerr, the summer scheme got underway in July.
Lia said: “I thought we might have a few families turn up and that would be it, but there have been times throughout the summer where more than 60 children have come and had a lunch.
“It is both wonderful and upsetting at the same time. It is a sad indictment of society that there are that many children and families who need a helping hand, but also amazing to see the community come together to eat and play.”
Outdoor games were also purchased with the grant money so families could enjoy some free summer fun.
Lia said she invited people to give demonstrations on how to use the new equipment, which families could then borrow and take it to either Bench Road Park or the scout hut if the weather was bad.
She said: “I can help families and give them the space, ideas and free equipment so they can play with their children.
“If you can give people the tools to help themselves they can change their lives and I really believe this summer we have done that by bringing families together and filled the park with laughter and happy memories.”
Lia also organised an emergency services day where more than 200 people met police officers and firefighters.
She said: “Fairfield is brilliant, it is the best place in the world to live and I love it here.
“We have not just been working with the young people, we have also been bringing some of Fairfield’s elderly residents out to the park so everyone could be part of the community, breaking down barriers and building relationships.
“The children who have come rain or shine to be part of the community have been amazing, so polite and helpful, and a credit to their parents.”
The summer scheme was so well received that Lia hopes it can return next year. She added: “Fairfield has once again done itself proud. I am so pleased the scheme has been welcomed and I hope it has made a difference.”