We aim to provide children from a lower socio-economic background nutritious healthy food, along with sporting, creative & educational activities in order to reduce holiday hunger and facilitate personal growth.
Our Lunch Club programme has now been running for over one year within our local community. Since the beginning of Summer 2017 we have facilitated Lunch Clubs during the school holidays in the following two areas; PSG (Preston, Seton, Gosford) and Fa'side.
Food poverty in Scotland during school holidays is a widely publicised issue. A recent report published in the Guardian (Butler 2017) stated that over 3 million children were at risk of hunger during the school holidays due to an absence of free school meals.
Many families rely on free school meals during term time to feed their children which adds financial pressure to parents during school holidays to provide nutritious meals for their children as well as food insecurity, isolation and poor health (Campbell, Watson and Watters 2015).
Hunger during the holidays puts the children at risk of malnutrition which also exposes risks of damaging their possibility of achieving a good education and living a healthy life. As well as malnutrition, hunger can also increase the risk of obesity as many people turn to unhealthy meals and snacks to fulfill hunger.
During the holidays it is not only food that adds financial strain to low income families, funding childcare also does.
Some studies that have been carried out have found projects which supply free meals and activities to families with a lower income during the school holidays, have been a highly valuable source of support for both the parents and children. They have allowed the children to eat healthy, undertake exercise and have impacted their behaviour which has a positive outlook on their condition when they return to school (Graham et al 2016).
A healthy breakfast is provided for the children upon arrival followed by activities and then lunch. An activity programme is created for each club which involves a range of sporting, educational and creative activities. Examples of these are; football, handball, reading, first aid, cooking and large object building.
A nutritional programme is also created for each club. A wide range of recipes are used to provide the children with healthy, nutritious and tasty meal options. The programme allows us to educate the children in how to prepare, cook and enjoy food which will allow them to live a healthier lifestyle. Examples of meals prepared are; chicken & broccoli bake, lemon chicken & noodles, super veggie pasta and healthy beefburgers.
Not only do we support the children, but we strive to support their families also. This involves running initiatives such as a food and clothing bank. The bank runs in partnership with East Lothian Foodbank, providing a variety of food, toiletries and clothing for the club members and their families. The bank also relies on regular donations from both local schools and community donations.