500,000 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.
The Mayor of London has a charter to stop young Londoners going hungry during the holidays.  Read their submission into the latest inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger.

GOOD THINGS TO EAT AND DO

Last year they 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 with very positive results.  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.

KITCHEN SOCIAL

KITCHEN SOCIAL builds on this pilot. Over the next three years, the aim is to identify and help 330 community organisations across London develop a healthy food and social development offer during the school holidays.

Tackling holiday hunger is at the heart of Kitchen Social, but it’s about much more than just food. It also looks at general mental and physical well-being and social integration.

Additional benefits created by Kitchen Social include learning about healthy eating, skills development, social inclusion, identification of children and young people in need and the development of staff, volunteers and local capacity.

WE NEED TO WORK 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.  The Mayor's office want to leverage their 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

WAYS TO GET INVOLVED
To get involved contact Patzi Shepperson on pshepperson@mayorsfundforlondon.org.uk or tel: 020 7983 5593.

Be a delivery partner

They 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 Miguel Gonzalez on mgonzalez@mayorsfundforlondon.org.uk or tel: 020 7983 4254

Give the benefit of you 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.

source londonfoodlink 17.0417