School holidays are supposed to be a fun time of the year, but for a generation of children from low income families it isn’t and it is a time which puts extra pressure on the family food budget and for some children it means hunger.
60% of families with an annual income of £25,000 can’t always afford food during the holidays, and families on less than £15,000 report a ‘constant struggle’. This means up to an estimated three million children risk being hungry in the school holidays. Children are isolated because there is no free activity programmes on offer, and they are at risk of going hungry because there are no free school meals, and studies from France and Austria have indicated it can take up to six weeks for pupils can recover from their summer holidays.
The Healthy Holidays project combats these issues by providing children aged 4-11 the chance to be more physically active and eat nutritious food that is prepared at the venue by themselves and the staff.
The programme provides hours of fun activities, physical activity and nutritional knowledge. There are a variety of activities taking place including various sports, dance, drama, arts and crafts, board games and many more.
As well as tackling the lack of physical activity and nutritional intake during the holidays, we also try and create a lasting/sustainable change in the children’s health and well-being behaviours. We involve them in the creation of the menus, food prep and meal prep, as well as making them fully aware of the benefits of eating in a healthy manner. We also actively encourage parents to come and help with the meal prep, thus making a greater change in household eating habits.
The project is delivered by qualified sports coaches that have experience in working with children in this age group in a physical education context. All coaches are qualified to a minimum in Level 3 delivery of PE and School Sport, at least two level 1 NGB qualifications and at least one level 2 NGB qualification as well as all having food hygiene level 2. All staff are DBS checked, first aid trained and have completed child protection and safeguarding training.
As well as the qualified coaches, the programme uses young volunteers from the area. These volunteers get hands on experience in delivery as well as being put through a minimum of two ‘activator’ courses and a level 2 in food hygiene qualification. This helps create sustainability for the programme in the area it is being delivered and create a greater knowledge of the need within the area.
The current Healthy Holidays programme is being delivered in Erdington, Birmingham and started in May 2017. There will be a Summer programme running weeks commencing July 31st, August 7th, August 14th & August 21st. Then again in the October 2017 half term. Future programmes will then be booked in and delivered after this.
The current project is funded through Awards for All and is delivered in partnership with Home Start Erdington as well as Street Games as part of their Fit and Fed initiative.
For more information please contact us!