Holiday hunger: Norwich Foodbank holiday club scheme to be extended because of demand
09:18 26 August 2014
copyright: Archant 2014
Foodbank clubs aiming to beat summer holiday hunger have proved so popular they could be expanded next year, charity bosses have said.
Norwich Foodbank has been running Food (and Fun) in School Holiday - or Fish - clubs this summer for children to enjoy free activities and a hot lunch, and have served up more than 500 meals already.
The clubs were set up to stem the traditional surge in demand that the foodbank sees over the summer, as families reliant on free schools meals begin to struggle, and also keep holiday activity costs down for families on a budget.
They run at five venues across the city, and see organisers team up with businesses and community groups to stage activities for children. Allotment holders and supermarkets have donated food for the meals, and also organised activities for children.
Hannah Worsley, development manager at Norwich Foodbank, said: “People have said to us that during term time they know their children are getting a good nutritious meal at school, so they can cope. But over the summer holidays it becomes much tougher.
“Some people don’t look forward to it at all: they dread them, thinking ‘I’ve got to feed my children and also entertain them’. Kids get bored and entertainment and play schemes all cost money.”
She added that the success of the scheme meant it would be repeated.
“Some clubs that haven’t been able to run this summer have already said they will run in October half term, and others are already planning for next summer,” she said.
Last year Norwich Foodbank fed nearly 9,000 people. In the first half of 2014, 4,739 people have been fed by the foodbank – a 28pc increase on the same period in 2013.
Around one in four children in Norwich is eligible for free school meals, and families are invited Fish clubs based on the advice of parent support advisors at schools throughout Norwich.
At the Cadge Road club, which runs three days a week, 50 children are signed up, with more on the waiting list.
The club hosted by George White Junior School, and run by volunteers from the Norwich Central Baptist Church, last week teamed up with Tesco at Blue Boar Lane in Sprowston to take children on the Farm to Fork Trail, which took them behind the scenes at the supermarket.
The group of five to 12-year-olds found out about where their food comes from, and baked their own loaf of bread, before taking part in a treasure hunt through the fruit and veg section. Activities at other clubs have included visits from animals from Banham Zoo, and CSI-style forensic science lessons.
Have Norwich Foodbank’s Fish clubs helped you? Email firstname.lastname@example.org