700,000 London children struggle for food during the school holidays
For children from low-income backgrounds, 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.
In 2016, we worked with local community groups to pilot a new scheme to provide healthy meals and a range of social development activities during the holidays.
The results were 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.
As a result, KITCHEN SOCIAL was launched in January 2017. To date, the programme has engaged 95 hubs across 23 boroughs – 46 are delivering the programme and a further 32 have been trained and are preparing for delivery. The initiative has helped to provide 10,800 meals to 1,728 children and young people. Youth clubs, schools, churches, adventure playgrounds and community centres across London are amongst those providing free meals and activities for the capital’s hungry school children
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.
Our charter to stop young Londoners going hungry during the holidays:
LEVERAGE 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 April 2017 inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger.
In response to the inquiry, Rt Hon. Frank Field MP introduced the School Holidays (Meals and Activities) Bill in September 2017. In January 2018, the Government publicly recognised holiday hunger as an issue and announced that they will be commissioning research and targeted holiday provision pilots to develop best practices and decide next steps. Kitchen Social is committed to supporting the pilot activity in due course.
Matthew Ryder, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement on why holiday hunger among children in a city as prosperous as London cannot be accepted.
Ways to get involved
To get involved contact Clara Widdison on firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 020 7983 6539.
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 Maryan Nuur on email@example.com or tel: 020 7983 4254
Give us the benefit of your 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 £2m
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.
“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