Free arts and crafts hampers will be given to families this Christmas by the charity Home-Start Stroud and Gloucester, and Stroud District Food Bank.

With the help of public donations and a council grant, more than 300 Christmas kits have been gifted in Stroud and 500 more will follow in December.

The scheme was started by former primary school teacher Harriet Walker after she found art supplies in her cupboard during the first lockdown and gave them away on Facebook.

“Families were incredibly grateful, many sending me messages to say how quiet their kids had been,” said Ms Walker, who has volunteered at Home-Start for the last 20 years.

“This was important to me because I liked the idea that children can learn that things don’t always have to be brand new; that recycled materials are just as valuable.”

After a crowd-funder, the charity linked up with the Food Bank, who offered to distribute the packs to families along with their food packages.

Volunteers from both organisations helped pack the art kits and top them up with pencil sharpeners, rubbers and glue.

“I was very grateful for the help for it would have been a monumental task to do on my own. Particularly as we only had two weeks to complete it before the next lockdown started,” said Ms Walker.

Staff from Home-Start are replicating the idea in Gloucester.