21 August 2018
Hi, I’m Sam!
Today, I’m out on the van delivering surplus food and drinks to children’s holiday clubs supported by FareShare’s #ActiveAte campaign.
The summer holidays should be a time of fun and excitement for children, but the reality is that up to 3 million children in the UK run the risk of going hungry over the school holidays. That’s why FareShare is supporting hundreds of summer holiday schemes over the summer to help bridge the gap.
Once our van is loaded with trays upon trays of child-friendly good surplus food, we are ready to hit the road.
Our first stop is Sport at the Heart at Roundwood Youth Centre in Brent, London. The centre is running a special summer club over the school holidays for up to 70 children every single weekday for 5 weeks. It’s a huge feat.
The summer club involves fun activities, such as dance, arts & crafts and sports sessions as well as serving every child a nutritious lunch each day.
I caught up with Sasha from Sport at the Heart, who says: “I don’t know where the kids would go without this centre to be honest. For low income families it is just £1 for the whole day including lunch.
“We get funding through Fit & Fed for our summer food supplies, which is where FareShare comes in. Whatever food we get from FareShare we make the most of it! We’ve been making fruit salads, packed lunches and hot meals like Spaghetti Bolognese.”
Next up is Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre in Wembley, which for the whole of August is running a summer holiday club every Wednesday and Thursday. The club is open to all young people from 8 – 13 years old who live in the surrounding area.
The holiday club offers a free lunch and fun activities for up to 25 children a week. When the club first started three years ago, the free lunch used to be reserved for children from low income families living nearby who were eligible for free school meals. Over the years, the decision was made to open this out to every child attending, so that all children treated equally regardless of their family’s income and background.
Catherine Fourcampe who runs the holiday club says: “You can tell the children who come to the club hungry. No matter what you cook or put in front of them, they will polish off their plate.
“We try to encourage healthy eating and giving the children access to foods they wouldn’t necessarily get to try at home. The first year we ran the club, we were preparing some vegetable sticks with the kids. The next day a woman came in who told us she was so surprised that when her children came home they started chopping peppers themselves in the kitchen for dinner! They had never been interested in vegetables before.”
Our last drop is the holiday club run by Hotspot Foods and Home Group Housing Association, which provides food and fun for the local children of Harrow, London.
The club aims to provide entertainment and stimulating activities for the children in the surrounding community, so they can enjoy their break from school and have access to nutritious home-cooked meals.
Hayley who runs the club says: “We run the summer club for four weeks over the summer holidays, with 20 children per session. Lots of local kids attending are from the nearby Rayners Lane estate, probably about 70%, which is an area of high deprivation.
“We are so fortunate to have such a big sports hall and café to serve food out of. We provide a hot lunch for the children every day – yesterday was Shepard’s pie and we’ll make ravioli with the squash in our FareShare delivery today.
“We also run cookery classes, so tomorrow the kids will be learning to make chicken curry on hot plates in the main hall. All the food we receive from FareShare is great and really helps us give the kids a wide variety of foods and meals to try.
“What you need to remember is that some of these kids don’t sit round a table at home. It’s the other things that eating food together can bring that’s important. We make sure we all sit and talk together round the table, with everyone encouraged to share their stories.”
All in all, it was a great experience to get out on the van and see first-hand the amazing people in the community who are making a real difference to children who would otherwise struggle over the holidays. Without the support of holiday groups like this it is difficult to see what else would be available for children from low income families during the long summer break.
If you’d like to help #ActiveAte school holidays this summer and help fund the cost of getting this good food to children’s projects like these, then please donate today at www.fareshare.org.uk/activeate
Just £12 a month could enable FareShare to provide a lunch for one child every day of the summer holidays.