Research conducted by Greater London Authority in 2019 shows that 400,000 children, under the age of 16, struggle to afford or access food. This issue is exacerbated during school holidays when free school meal provision is not available. The lack of access to free school meals over the break was seen to put a significant emotional and financial strain on families from low-income backgrounds and puts children in these families at risk of food insecurity. Food insecurity is understood to affect educational attainment and children’s wellbeing, including their physical health.
As a result of this activity, in January 2017 we launched Kitchen Social with the aim of raising the profile of the issue of holiday food insecurity, piloting and demonstrating an effective delivery model and lobbying for system change. Since inception, Kitchen Social has delivered food and activities through 122 hubs in 24 boroughs, delivered 2,978 sessions and provided 97,792 meals to 21,124 children and young people, and secured 286 volunteer hours from professional chefs and nutritionists.
Kitchen Social is also a feature of the Mayor of London’s Food Strategy.
“I like coming to this club because it keeps me active. I like cooking and going outside to play football with my friends. If I wasn’t here, I’d be at home watching TV.”
Megan, 12 years old, Acton
“Kitchen Social 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
122 hubs have delivered Kitchen Social in 24 boroughs in London. They have provided food and enriching activities to 21,124 unique children and served 97,792 meals.