The founder of a popular lockdown parenting Facebook group has been honoured with a Points of Light award from the prime minister.
Claire Balkind, 36, a history teacher from Barnet, received a personal letter from Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week.
“I am lost in admiration to learn that your Facebook group has grown to more than 1 million members,” he wrote.
Johnson thanked the mum-of-two on behalf of “the whole country” as well as all members of the Family Lockdown Tips & Ideas Facebook group.
He said: “I have been so uplifted by the ingenious ways in which people have adapted their lives to follow the rules, while having fun, staying in touch and helping others.”
The Facebook group, he said, is “a treasure-trove of such activities, unlocking the creative spirit of families across the nation while providing a much cherished source of comfort at this time.”
Balkind, meanwhile, said she was “deeply humbled” to receive the award and that it had been “such a privilege” to lead the group.
“The community amazes and inspires me every day and the support and love shown by the members for each other is very powerful. Families have proven that despite challenging circumstances, they can achieve great things,” she said.
Balkind set up the Family Lockdown Tips & Ideas Facebook group in March ahead of looming school closures to find ideas to keep her young children busy at home.
Since the start of the lockdown, the Facebook group grew into an online community of 1.1 million members – and even gave rise to an e-book.
The 59-page volume, published by Bluebird in May in aid of the children’s charity Barnado’s, contains 20 at-home children’s activities inspired by entries posted on the Facebook group.
A full-length paperback, entitled Great Family Days In and containing 75 activity ideas, will be published by the same publisher in the autumn.