The issue of food poverty is often exacerbated for families over the school holidays, when free school meals are not available. There are approximately 170 non-school days (including weekends) in the year in the UK that free school meal (FSM) pupils cannot access their entitlement to a school lunch, which is often the only hot meal that is available to them over the school term.
Over a million UK school children rely on free school meals during term time: it is a vital social support to low income families with regards to financial burden, health, and wellbeing. However, during school holidays the issue of food poverty and the wider impact has become a real concern, with food banks and community projects reporting more hungry families seeking extra provisions to put food on the table and feeding their families.
Over a million UK school children rely on free school meals during term time.
The Northern Housing Consortium have been engaging with members across the sector – as well as wider partners – to understand and learn about some of the challenges faced by families over school holidays and the wider impact it has on children and their families. As part of this activity the NHC recently published a good practice paper showcasing a number of good practice initiatives adopted by the housing sector and wider, around tackling school holiday challenges. The full briefing can be found here.
The National Holiday Hunger Task Group, led by independent School and Health Advisor Lindsay Graham, is made up of various individuals and organisations working to tackle food poverty and the challenges faced by families and children over the holidays. The group’s vision is to ensure no child goes hungry during the school holidays, with the mission to support communities with a framework for providing good food as part of holiday learning, play, and activity programmes.
The task group was set up to look at simple guidelines for organisations looking to set up provision of holiday meals and/or wellbeing programmes. On Tuesday 2nd June they launched their Filling the Holiday Gap: 10 Guiding Principles.
The NHC would like to hear from members on plans around food and wellbeing programmes that will be running over the forthcoming school summer holiday, please contact email@example.com.