Holiday Food and Fun Programmes

Holiday clubs protect children from hunger, as well as the negative physical and mental health impacts it brings in its wake. Programmes of Holiday Food and Fun clubs are coordinated across nine of our local Feeding Britain pilot areas to ensure that children and families have the support they need when they need it most.

Feeding Britain’s approach to holiday club programming is centred around community. We know that there is amazing work already happening on the ground, with charities, community groups, local authorities, and community organisers all playing a crucial role in ensuring children are supported over the holidays. 

We recognise the wealth of experience, relationships, and resources that already exist within local communities, and believe that by adding value to the work already being done, we can scale up quality provision in the most effective way possible. By bringing key players together, spreading good practice, and adding value where it is needed most, Feeding Britain pilots have created a sustainable approach to holiday provision.

What we know

  • 3 million children are at risk of hunger during the school holidays
  • For children in poorer areas we see spelling skills decline or stagnate over the summer holidays, taking weeks to make up the learning loss
  • 19% of children under 15 live with someone who is food insecure
  • The loss of free school meals during the holidays costs a family £30-£40 per week

Learn more about the issue in our latest report on Ending Hunger in the Holidays

Read a case study from our pilot in Cheshire West and Chester here

How Holiday Food and Fun Clubs Help

Reduce hunger: Holiday clubs disproportionately serve children from lower income families and make the biggest difference in strengthening food security for the poorest families.

Reduce pressure on family budgets: Parents struggling to provide for children during term time find the holidays a stressful time. Holiday clubs fill the gap left by the loss of term-time free school meals, mitigate expensive childcare costs, and provide fun activities for children who might otherwise miss out. 

Support educational achievement: Providing food and enrichment activities help to alleviate drops and stagnation in educational performance. In this way they can help safeguard social mobility by preventing children from falling behind their richer peers.

Combat social isolation: Holiday clubs encourage children to be more social and physically active, allow volunteers to feel more connected, and give parents an opportunity to meet others in their community and build social support networks.

Encourage healthy eating and physical activity: Holiday clubs contribute to the fight against obesity and related health problems by providing healthy and nutritious meals. This is particularly important in lower income areas which have a higher density of fast food takeout restaurants.

Build skills and employability: As well as helping parents to stay in work over the holidays, the clubs also provide opportunities for people to build up skills, experience, and confidence that can help them in to employment.

Where Holiday Food and Fun Clubs are happening

A 2017 survey by Northumbria University showed a small but growing number of clubs, reflecting the increasing scale of need across the country. 593 holiday clubs completed the survey in 2017, compared with 325 in 2016. These organisations together provided in excess of 187,000 meals over the 2017 Summer and October half term holidays, reaching more than 22,000 people. While this is just a snapshot of provision in the UK it indicates a growing response to the issue. 

The following Feeding Britain pilot areas are coordinating Holiday Food and Fun programmes:

Together, Feeding Britain pilots provided over 43,236 meals to children and families over the 2017 Summer and October holidays. In the summer of 2018 we supported 79 clubs in 9 areas of England to deliver 34,562 meals and activity sessions to 7,123 individual children. 

Read a case study from our Feeding Britain pilot in Cheshire West and Chester

In the news

What the summer holidays are really like for low-income families – Emily Morris, Prospect, 26th July 2018

‘Holiday Hunger should be the shame of this Government and it isn’t’ – Dawn Foster, The Guardian, 25th July 2018

Why the summer holidays are stressful for hungry families in Leicester – Liz Kendall, Leicestershire Live, 23rd July 2018

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