Call The Midwife stars meet Bonny Downs staff and families

Call The Midwife stars Laura Main and Ella Bruccoleri on a video call with Bonny Downs Community Association families

Call The Midwife stars Laura Main (bottom right) and Ella Bruccoleri (top right) on the video call with Bonny Downs Community Association staff and families. - Credit: BBC Children in Need

Stars from a hit BBC drama joined a virtual meeting and crafts session with staff at an East Ham charity and families they support.

Call The Midwife cast members Laura Main and Ella Bruccoleri - known to fans of the show as Shelagh Turner and Sister Frances - joined a video call to learn more about the work and impact of Bonny Downs Community Association (BDCA).

The charity’s Growing Strong project received £120,000 funding over three years from BBC Children in Need to cover staff and equipment costs, a toy bank, advocacy support and early years and youth services provision for families in the area.

This includes term-time groups for children aged three and younger and for primary school pupils, as well as summer activities.

During the call, Laura and Ella heard about how BDCA has adapted its services to meet the needs of families during the pandemic.

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Project worker Stacey Cordery said: “Funding has allowed us to run virtual activity sessions throughout lockdown. We’ve been providing arts and crafts or activity packs which enable the children to socialise, feel supported and increase their wellbeing.

“The funding also allows us to provide a holiday club for the children where they can enjoy games and play outdoors on the charity’s green space, experience respite from the challenges they might be facing and be provided with meals throughout their day."

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Laura and Ella also created a spring wreath with families supported by the project and heard how important the services have been to them.

After the meeting, Ella said: “It was incredible to hear families speak openly about their stories first hand.

“It’s clear this funding is not just supporting families, it’s helping build and maintain the wellbeing of an entire community, a family who are supporting each other through some of the hardest times.

“It’s clear [BDCA] not only provides families with practical essentials, but they are also thinking about families’ wellbeing and mental health and adapting to help them in the best way possible.”

Laura added: “It was really moving to hear how much the charity means to families, not just as a group, but as individuals.

“It’s the most incredible place.”

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