400,000 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.
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.
In 2016, 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 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.
WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER
Holiday 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
GOOD THINGS TO EAT AND DO
KITCHEN SOCIAL builds on this pilot and was launched in January 2017. 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 FOR CHANGE
LEVERAGE 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.