Paste your Google Webmaster Tools verification code here
Mayor's Fund For London

500,000 London children struggle for food during the school holidays*

For children from a disadvantaged background, the school holidays can be a difficult time.

With no free school meals or teacher support, hunger and social isolation are a reality for many young Londoners.

Teachers report malnourished children returning to school after the holidays having fallen behind compared to their peers.  Many young people will never claw back this learning and health disadvantage to fulfil their potential.

Research tells us that families and the communities are affected too. Some parents are skipping meals to feed their children and increased household fuel and food bills cause stress and uncertainty. This can lead to debt, poor diet and social isolation.

As Matthew Ryder, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, says Holiday hunger among children in a city as prosperous as London cannot be accepted.

What can we do about it?

We’ve learnt a lot over the past four years, working with schools to provide healthy breakfasts for hungry children in some of London’s most disadvantaged areas. The long-fought battle to secure statutory support for school food has been won.

But that doesn’t help hungry young Londoners, like the 200,000 children entitled to free school meals, through the 170 days of holiday every year.

Our charter to stop young Londoners going hungry during the holidays:

BSNS_MFL_Fiona_Twycross_Visit_05LEVERAGE our position to help raise the profile of holiday hunger and evidence the negative impact it has on young Londoners

SUPPORT community groups, boroughs, businesses, foundations, charities and individuals to target healthy holiday meals and positive activities to 50,000 young Londoners in some of London’s most disadvantaged areas – and evidence that impact

CAMPAIGN alongside others for statutory support to achieve the positive educational, social and health benefits that holiday food provision would bring all young Londoners. Read our submission into the latest inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger.


Good things to eat and do

Last year we worked with local community groups in seven boroughs to pilot a new scheme to provide healthy meals and a range of social development activities during the holidays.

The results have been very positive.

As well as food and social activities, children learnt new skills like cooking and budgeting.  In some cases, safeguarding issues were highlighted and addressed. Local organisations benefited too, developing new capacity, capability and employment, better enabling them to respond to the issues they face in their communities.

Kitchen Social

BSNS_MFL_Fiona_Twycross_Visit_22KITCHEN SOCIAL builds on this pilot.  Over the next three years, our aim is to identify and help 330 community organisations across London develop a healthy food and social development offer during the school holidays.

Tackling holiday hunger is at the heart of Kitchen Social, but it’s about much more than just food. It also looks at general mental and physical well-being and social integration.

Additional benefits created by Kitchen Social include learning about healthy eating, skills development, social inclusion, identification of children and young people in need and the development of staff, volunteers and local capacity.

We need to work together

General Assembly member Fiona Twycross visits Flashpoint Centre Play in Chelsea, West London, where the Mayor’s Fund for London have initiated a summer holiday pilot scheme with a focus on healthy balanced meals that adhere to the food school standards. Thursday, 25th August 2016. Picture by Ben StevensHoliday hunger is a huge challenge that can only be overcome if we work and campaign together.

There are many excellent community organisations that understand their local context and challenge, but which are unable to provide food or would like to offer a much higher quality of provision.

We want to leverage our position and relationships across London to help join up the dots and support these groups to:

  • Improve and scale-up quality, reach and provision
  • Evidence and showcase best practice and achievement
  • Convene a unified voice for change

Ways to get involved

To get involved contact Patzi Shepperson on or tel: 020 7983 5593.

Be a delivery partner

We would love to hear from you if you work in:

  • An organisation that works with young people or providing healthy food
  • An organisation that might have safe space and catering facilities
  • A local authority and would like to develop Kitchen Social projects in your borough

Contact Miguel Gonzalez on or tel: 020 7983 4254

Give us the benefit of you experience and influence

Be part of Kitchen Social to help develop the solution and campaign for support, together with other London institutions, charities, businesses and individuals. This is just one part of a much bigger food poverty agenda across London and the UK, including issues such as the sugar tax, gardens, surplus food, obesity and health, etc.

Help us raise £1m

Just £3,000 funds a community organisation to provide meals and more during the school holidays.

We want to bring together businesses, public funders, foundations and individual donors to help raise £2m to create 330 Kitchen Social hubs across London.

Our current partners are:

We have already been joined by the innocent foundation, Hillingdon Community Trust and the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority.

Innocent-foundation-logo-web MoL_supported_by_grey_cmyk-web

“The Mayor’s Fund for London’s Kitchen Social programme will bring together community groups, boroughs, businesses, foundations, charities and individuals to ensure the city’s young people do not go hungry or feel alone over the school holidays. Crucially, it will also put mental and physical well-being and social integration at the heart of its work, ensuring young Londoners are equipped with the skills and good health they need to get ahead.” Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, Matthew Ryder

Get involved

To get involved contact
Patzi Shepperson on
or tel: 020 7983 5593.

Community organisations
contact Miguel Gonzalez on
or tel: 020 7983 4254

© Copyright Mayor’s Fund For London | credits