Did you know that 3 million children in the UK are at risk of going hungry during the school holidays?
With the loss of free school meals given out during term time, in addition to the extra childcare costs around the holidays, families already struggling with low budgets find it difficult to feed their children. The Holiday Club programmes operating in our Feeding Britain pilot areas aim to put an end to holiday hunger. These clubs provide open spaces around the holidays for kids and families to come together to play, learn new skills, and share a meal together.
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on hunger published a report earlier this year which showed that hunger amongst children during the school holidays may exacerbate inequalities that already exist between children from wealthier and poorer backgrounds. Those children most at risk of hunger during the holidays may also suffer from social isolation, loneliness, and inactivity. These factors combined can lead to significant weight loss or gain, and negative impacts on physical and mental well-being.
How Holiday Clubs are Changing Lives
“This club has turned my life around, I’m normally sat alone when its holidays. Club is really good, it helps families that can’t afford food or activities. Kids get to socialise. I’m now looking at doing an apprenticeship in Bricklaying and getting supported at school to do that.” -15 year-old male, Derbyshire
Holiday Clubs offer four main advantages:
- Socialising and activities for children
- Financial relief for parents on very low incomes
- Skill building for parents and pathways to future work
- Improved physical and mental health, setting children up to excel in their studies after the holidays
Each of these advantages improves children’s quality of life, as well as their chances of growing up to become healthy, well-educated adults, while simultaneously increasing parents’ confidence and adding to their skills base.
Addressing the root cause of childhood hunger through policy reform is critical, however we believe that Holiday Clubs are also an excellent way to promote social inclusion through food, and that they add an important element of happiness and community to the lives of those families who are supported.