COMMUNITIES RALLY ROUND TO FEED HUNGRY CHILDREN
34 community hubs across 16 London boroughs are delivering holiday food provision this summer10,000 free meals will be provided to over 1,600 children as part of the Mayor’s Fund for London Kitchen Social programme
Hubs in Bexley, Brent, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Havering, Hillingdon, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southwark and Wandsworth boroughs have signed up to support hungry children
500,000 London children struggle for food during the holidays – with no free school meals or teacher support, hunger and social isolation is a reality for many young Londoners
Churches, adventure playgrounds and community centres across London are providing free meals for the capital’s hungry school children during the summer holidays.
Delivered as part of the Mayor’s Fund for London Kitchen Social programme, 34 hubs across 16 boroughs will ensure attendees not only receive a balanced meal, but also offer young people the opportunity to get involved in preparation of food and learn life skills linked to shopping and budgeting that will help them outside of the hub.
Kitchen Social is part of a three-year £2m campaign to identify and support 330 community organisations across London to create a healthy food and social development offer during the school holidays. The programme was launched in January 2017, in partnership with the Greater London Authority and local councils, and is currently supported by the innocent foundation, Hillingdon Community Trust, Bloomberg, L&Q Foundation, Wates Family Enterprise Trust, Veetee Rice, Soho House Group, and London Bridge City.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It is unacceptable for any child in our great city to ever experience hunger or social isolation. Equally, it is not right that in a city as rich as ours, some parents are having to skip meals themselves to feed their children as they cannot afford a decent meal. Preventing young Londoners from going hungry during the holidays is a challenge that can be overcome by bringing together communities across the capital to look out for some of the city’s most disadvantaged children. Kitchen Social programme will help to tackle food inequality and provide London’s youngsters with healthy meals over the holidays, allowing them to flourish upon their return to school”.
Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, Matthew Ryder, said: “Kitchen Social brings 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 also puts 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.”
In April, a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger saluted the work of volunteers and charities in addressing holiday hunger and recommended that the government draw on the Mayor’s Fund’s work with Kitchen Social to design a national programme.
The Mayor’s Fund is now actively supporting the introduction the School Holidays (Meals and Activities) Bill being put forward by Frank Field MP. The bill, which has cross-party backing, would give local authorities the duties and the resources they need to facilitate the delivery of programmes that provide free meals and activities for children who would otherwise go without.
Matthew Patten, Mayor’s Fund for London Chief Executive said: “Food is a basic human right. If a child is assessed as needing support while at school their needs should not be ignored in the holiday period, when all the good work at school can be undone. We feel that all UK parliaments should follow the example set by Wales and set aside funding to address the issue of holiday hunger and food insecurity and we would like to see central government explore the creation of a statutory responsibility for the issue.”