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The clubs keeping Norwich children fed and happy in school holidays

PUBLISHED: 14:29 17 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:44 17 April 2019

Adam, Finbar, Angus and Issac playing at game of Snakes and Ladders at the Kidz Klub at Oak Grove Community Church in Catton, Norwich. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Adam, Finbar, Angus and Issac playing at game of Snakes and Ladders at the Kidz Klub at Oak Grove Community Church in Catton, Norwich. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

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For most families a holiday club is an opportunity for children to have fun and make or see friends outside of school.

Issac playing a game of Ka-plunk at the Kidz Klub with helper Carol Woodward. Picture: Ella WilkinsonIssac playing a game of Ka-plunk at the Kidz Klub with helper Carol Woodward. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

But for some it can provide a more vital service: making sure a child gets a hot, filling meal.

The Food In School Holidays (FISH) programme is trying to plug the gap in Norwich, with groups in locations such as Catton, Thorpe and Heartsease.

In Catton the project has teamed up with Oak Grove Community Church, which runs a “Kidz Klub” offering activities such as board games, singing and trips out as well as a pop-up library service.

Becca Savory, a children's worker with the church, said the joint project had been running for around a year and now had some 50 families on its books.

Adam, Riley, Lucy, Katie and Adam playing Dominos at Kidz Klub. Picture: Ella WilkinsonAdam, Riley, Lucy, Katie and Adam playing Dominos at Kidz Klub. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

“It is highlighting the fact that we are in a community that benefits from free school meals. It takes some pressure off the parents as we are able to give them one day a week in the school holidays when they know their child is going to get a good, filling, healthy meal,” she said.

“Sometimes we have some food left and parents have been grateful to take that home.”

The FISH clubs were set up by Chris Callaghan, a former children and families worker for the church in Catton Grove, who brought his nine-year-old daughter Tia to Wednesday's Kidz Klub session.

He said he was glad to see the clubs back up and running after a short hiatus.

“I wanted to create the programme to feed children in the school holidays because sometimes nobody else was,” he said.

“We had a lot of families come along. The main draw was the fact that in the school holidays the children still needed to be fed. We got a lot of gratitude from the parents. The environment that we work in in this area is harder, but the kids are all good.”

Kelly Hoare brings her children Oscar Hoare, five, and Jayden and Riley Kett, 11 and nine, to the Kidz Klub.

She said: “The kids learn loads and we have had a lot of good trips. They really enjoy it – they are so excited to come in the mornings.”

Imogen at the Kidz Klub decorating an easer egg. Picture: Ella WilkinsonImogen at the Kidz Klub decorating an easer egg. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

On Tuesday evenings Oak Grove hosts a foodbank and community kitchen, offering a hot dinner to local adults and families in need, which Ms Savory said gave an opportunity to advertise the Kidz Klub, held on Wednesdays in the school holidays.

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