Help to end ‘holiday hunger’ in Brighton and Hove

New schemes to stop children from low-income families going hungry through the summer holidays.
By Emily O’Brien

As the summer holidays get closer, many families are planning trips abroad or fun days out with their children.

Yet for some kids, the six-week holidays can be a time when they feel hungrier than ever without the safety net of school dinners during the day.

Food poverty affects 1 in 6 children in the city and it doesn’t go away when the sun shines.

A new school holiday lunch club called Chomp provides nutritional meals to low income families who really struggle in school holidays to provide the five extra meals per week per child.

Since opening they have served over 3,300 meals.  They rely on volunteers to support each session and mainly get food from FareShare to keep costs low and reduce food waste.

During the six-week break Chomp run social activities and provide a hot meal for all the family across four clubs based in Moulsecoomb, Whitehawk, West Blatchington and the city centre.

Aimed at children entitled to free school meals during term time the club is open to any low income family experiencing social isolation or financial difficulties during the school holiday.

Families are referred by schools, health workers, children centres or foodbanks. Across the four clubs they aim to cover every week day in the school holidays – each club opening about two days a week.

Chomp is not just about a nutritional meal – it’s providing social interaction and fun for the whole family.  From 11am-1pm the projects run games, crafts, support for parents and a healthy meal for all the family. It is a relaxed environment for families to get good quality time together and to socialise with other families.

The organisers of Chomp would like to encourage more community groups and schools to get involved in tackling holiday hunger.

This could be:

  • Adding a meal to any of your current projects
  • Gathering people within your community to host a picnic in the park that serves the local community a day or two in the school holiday
  • Publicising Chomp lunch clubs if one is already in your area
  • Setting up a pilot lunch club to see if it worked in your area.

Chomp organiser Amy Goodwin said: “Chomp is based on a simple structure and so far we have supported two community groups in replicating a similar model in their communities – St Andrew’s in Moulsecoomb and St Cuthman’s in Whitehawk as well as a school in West Blatchington.

“We are flexible in our approach and can support with training, resources and administration if you are thinking of setting up something that provides meals to low income families during the school holidays.

“If you’re interested in being part of resolving holiday hunger in our city and would like to chat more then get in touch. I’d love to hear from you and look at flexible ways to approach this.”

One of the  actions in the Brighton & Hove Food Poverty Action Plan is to increase the number of ‘holiday hunger’ schemes which offer a meal and fun activities to children and families in the school holidays, tackling isolation alongside seasonal hunger gaps.

 

If you want to find out more email Amy Goodwin or call her on 01273 694746.