15 December 2021| | 3 min read
School holiday activity and food programme goes lives
Children and young people across Newcastle who receive free school meals have been invited to sign up to free activities over the school Christmas holidays.
Newcastle City Council, in partnership with StreetGames, is working with over 50 community projects and leisure partners across more than 100 venues in the city to offer a range of free fun activities, nutritious food and schemes for school aged children and young people.
Earlier this year, Newcastle City Council was awarded £1.7 million from the Department for Education to build on its successful initiatives during summer holidays. The Holiday Activity Fund money secured for 2021 has already covered Easter and Summer holidays, as well as the forthcoming Christmas school holidays.
The authority has written to 10,000 families identified as possibly being in need, inviting them to get involved in a wide range of activities from trampoline parks, ice skating, climbing, circus skills, archery, swimming through its Best Ever Winter holiday activity programme.
Cllr Paula Holland, Newcastle City Council cabinet member for Education and Skills, said: “Working with StreetGames and the many community organisations who deliver these programmes, we’ve had great success providing activities and nutritious meals to children in the end-of-term holidays.
“This is the first time we’ve been able to deliver a similar programme during the Christmas holidays, but we’re looking forward to engaging with a lot of children and young people and making life that bit easier for families.
“School holidays can be a really tough time for people, especially those who rely on their children receiving free school meals during term time. Clearly, the Government needs to do more to address child food poverty and the other inequalities families face, but we’re really pleased to be able to play our part to offer something meaningful and enjoyable during the school holidays.”
One organisation helping to deliver the winter 2021 programme is The Bread and Butter Thing (TBBT), an award-winning affordable food project based in the North East.
TBBT will be providing 1200 families with bags of fruit, veg and cupboard staples, distributed to people whose children are attending holiday activity programmes across the city.
TBBT runs over 50 food clubs across the north of England from Cheshire to County Durham. In this special collaboration, the charity is working with Newcastle City Council for the first time.
Packed at its warehouse in County Durham, TBBT will deliver daily supplies of fruit, veg and cupboard staples such as a pasta, rice, cereal and tea to Newcastle’s holiday projects to help support families living in food insecurity over the school holiday period.
Mark Game, TBBT CEO said: “TBBT specialises in delivering quality, nutritious food to low income communities where families struggle to afford food. Our project enables them to feed their children and eat more healthily as well as accessing a range of other support options. We also work collaboratively with our partners to create tailored support for local areas, so I’m delighted to be working with Newcastle City Council for the first time and supporting its vital work for children and families in the city.”
TBBT’s service is created from surplus food: the sorts of produce that often ends up going to waste because it’s wrongly labelled or there is simply too much of it. As a result, the food available varies from day to day and week to week offering TBBT members plenty of variety and the chance to try new foods.