THE chair of a Helensburgh-based children’s charity says a recent award win recognising the group’s efforts throughout the pandemic is testament to all their hard work in the community over the past two decades.

Fun First, set up in 2001 and run by a voluntary committee, was named Military Family Charity of the Year at the inaugural Celebrating Forces Families (CFF) awards ceremony in London on April 29.

Last week’s celebratory event saw the Burgh organisation rewarded alongside another charity - Scotty’s Little Soldiers, which provides bereavement support to young people who have lost a parent who served in the armed forces.

Fun First was praised for adapting its sessions during the lockdowns and moving to online, using its social media platform to ensure families weren’t completely isolated.

YouTube videos were made, Zoom calls and virtual parties held, while doorstep deliveries of craft packs helped families celebrate Hallowe’en and Easter virtually.

The lifeline service also arranged for Father Christmas to visit homes in the area - while social distancing, of course - with his elf to deliver presents and craft supplies.

Sarah Davies, chair of the group in Helensburgh, said: “We were determined to continue helping in the best way we could.

“We are very proud to have been recognized nationally at the inaugural Celebrating Forces Families Awards 2022.

“It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all our leaders and committee members past and present and very fitting in a year when we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary with a teddy bear’s picnic in our favourite place - the James Street Community Garden.

“Twenty years and we are getting stronger, supporting more families and children every week.”

A new group, Fun First Babies, has also been set up in recent months, followed by another befriending group, Fun First Friends.

Fun First was recognised for providing a lifeline to families who couldn’t be supported by relatives or visiting health professionals and arranged virtual contact to combat social isolation.