Posted on 22nd July 2020

Feeding 1,400 Children through the School Holidays in Derbyshire

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Feeding Derbyshire is to orchestrate Derbyshire’s School Holiday Food Projects

As a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, it is predicted that more children than ever could go hungry across the UK this year. Demand for food support is expected to increase by around 40% according to FareShare UK, the UK’s largest food charity, as more families face severe financial pressures because of the pandemic. 

Statistics from Derbyshire County Council indicate that applications for free school meals increased by over 600% between March and May, compared to the same time in 2019, demonstrating that many living in the county are experiencing these pressures first-hand.

Thanks to a recent campaign from footballer Marcus Rashford, the free school meals vouchers continue to be available over the summer holidays – but many families will still struggle with food insecurity this year.

Matlock based charity, Rural Action Derbyshire, heads up the Feeding Derbyshire partnership which works with a number of voluntary and public sector bodies to support food projects around the county.

Feeding Derbyshire has secured funding from Feeding Britain for School Holiday Food Projects and FareShare Midlands who have received support from Central England Co-operative to provide food to 18 different clubs around Derbyshire this summer.

The Summer Holiday food offer will deliver up to four days’ worth of supplies each week to every child registered with participating clubs over the six week summer holiday period.

Packages include staples such as breakfast cereal, pasta, rice, tinned goods, fruit, and healthy snacks, allowing families to take food away and make meals at home. There will also be the option for chilled foods, allowing clubs to make meals in bulk, as Feeding Derbyshire attempt to accommodate the food requirements of all of those in need.

The project aims to reach at least 1,400 disadvantaged children across Derbyshire, providing over 100,000 meals and 85,000 pieces of fruit over the summer holidays.

These packages are being delivered in reusable bags which can be returned, helping to promote a culture of recycling and refilling.

Feeding Derbyshire has also provided a cash grant enabling clubs to purchase additional items for children, including toiletries, sanitary items and craft materials. Groups will also have access to virtual activity bundles to keep kids entertained while schools remain closed.

By providing healthy, balanced food packages to children during the break, the Summer Holiday Food Project will boost Feeding Derbyshire’s ambition of ensuring the most vulnerable people have access to nutritious meals.

This is just one of many crucial programmes organised by Rural Action Derbyshire, which creates and champions sustainable solutions to tackling food insecurity and rural poverty, and works with 28 food banks and 22 community cafes across the county.

Over the last two months alone, this work has helped Derbyshire food projects to double the amount of food provided to local people.

Funding shortfall – can you help?

However, facing a potentially overwhelming demand for food, Feeding Derbyshire may lack the necessary funds to continue providing these essential services for vulnerable people.

It is estimated that it will cost upwards of £88,000 to continue to support children and families over the next academic year – although this figure could rise if the free school meal voucher scheme is withdrawn after the summer.

This would create a cash shortfall between October half term and Easter meaning that children would go hungry as families struggle to cope during the school holidays.

If you would like to help support this vital work, please support Rural Action Derbyshire’s fundraising campaign via their website: https://www.ruralactionderbyshire.org.uk/Appeal/school-holiday-clubs-2020 and share it via  your social media channels.

Quote from a Mum in the High Peak from last year:

“I was feeling isolated at home during the school holidays and the children were bored. I heard about the Holiday Club, that there were activities and food so I thought that I’d go along. It was so nice that I didn’t have to worry about packed lunches as school holidays can be stressful and expensive. Not only did my children enjoy the activities on offer, they also had plenty to eat and it was healthy too, they loved it.”

Mandy Chambers from Feeding Derbyshire said:

“Ending ‘holiday hunger’ in the county is a major part of the Feeding Derbyshire plan, before the Coronavirus outbreak there were almost 25,000 children in Derbyshire who were eligible  for free school meals, and the financial hardship created by the crisis means this number is only increasing. Following long periods away from school, like the summer holidays, some children return to school undernourished and hungry, which clearly affects their ability to learn.  We want all children to be properly fed so that they are able to make the most of their time at school and fulfil their potential. We are so grateful to Feeding Britain for their funding and our partners at FareShare Midlands. We couldn’t do this without them.”

Feeding Britain’s Sarah Clark added:

“We are privileged to be working alongside Feeding Derbyshire to support the delivery of the Healthy Holidays programme. For many families, the Summer holidays represent an additional pressure on already stretched budgets, a situation made all the more challenging by the current climate. The Feeding Derbyshire programme will protect children’s access to nutritious food and fun activities over the coming weeks, allowing the best possible start for a return to the classroom when circumstances allow.”

ENDS

For more information please contact:

Feeding Derbyshire – Jo Peck, Feeding Derbyshire Project Coordinator on 07738 107072 or at j.peck@ruralactionderbyshire.org.uk

Rural Action Derbyshire – Emma Simpson, Marketing & Communications Officer on 01629 592970, 07540 736 118 or at e.simpson@ruralactionderbyshire.org.uk

Feeding Britain – Andrew Forsey, Feeding Britain National Director on 0207 340 6053 or at andrew.forsey@feedingbritain.org  

About Feeding Derbyshire

Feeding Derbyshire is a public, private and voluntary sector alliance supporting local food poverty projects to help keep Derbyshire Hunger-Free where no one goes hungry.

The Feeding Derbyshire partnership is headed by local charity Rural Action Derbyshire with the Diocese of Derby, Citizens Advice and Community Voluntary Services across the Boroughs and Districts, FareShare Midlands and Derbyshire County Council, which also provides RAD with financial assistance for the strategic coordination and administration of the project. 

Launched in July 2015, the Feeding Derbyshire alliance continues to pilot sustainable solutions to help feed people who are struggling with low incomes, debt and insufficient access to good quality, nutritious food.

Derbyshire is one of the original Feeding Britain pilot areas, and works strategically to respond to the dynamic socio-economic landscape within which they work.

Feeding Derbyshire aims to improve accessibility to good quality, affordable food and reduce the negative impact of hunger by ensuring projects and initiatives are inclusive and reach the most vulnerable people in the county.  They aim to give individuals and families the confidence and capacity to lead lives of self-reliance and meet their own and their children’s basic needs.

About Feeding Britain:

Feeding Britain was established in 2015 by a group of cross party MPs concerned about rising levels of hunger in the UK. It works in practical ways to combat hunger in towns, cities and counties around the UK, through 12 local Feeding Britain pilots. These are coalitions of local organisations- charities, community groups, local authorities, social enterprises and others – who come together to take joint action to help eliminate hunger and its root causes in their communities.

They know that however hard local projects work to support people in crisis, many of the root causes of hunger need to be addressed through national policy reform and legislation. They take the learning and evidence from their local pilots about what is causing hunger in communities and use this to call for national policy reforms that will alleviate, and ultimately eliminate, hunger for good.

They work closely with the APPG on Hunger, and also raise issues with a wide range of other stakeholders to make sure those responsible are aware of the real situation for people at risk of hunger today. For more information about Feeding Britain visit feedingbritain.org – We are also on twitter – @Feeding_Britain

About Rural Action Derbyshire

Rural Action Derbyshire (RAD), formerly Derbyshire Rural Community Council, is an independent organisation and registered charity operating across the county since 1924. RAD aims to improve the life of those living and working in rural Derbyshire, by providing direct services to help people and groups in rural communities, and by raising awareness of the issues faced by rural communities. For more information go to the RAD website follow on Facebook and Twitter, @RuralActionDerb. RAD is a network member of ACRE.