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Food, Families, Futures is tackling holiday poverty

Children in Scotland’s Food, Families, Futures partnership is tackling child food poverty over the school holidays


The partnership, established three years ago, was set up to support children from low income families who may have less access to nutritious meals, or suffer from boredom or loneliness because of a lack of social activities during the holidays.

Food, Families, Futures is a partnership between Brakes’ Meals & More programme, charity Children in Scotland, local authorities, local organisations and community groups in participating authorities.

It is more than just food, it is giving families the opportunity to spend time together socially

The programme was launched in 2015 with the aim of contributing to tackling food poverty and its link to children’s health, wellbeing and education. With the help and support of local councils, local organisations and community groups, it turns schools into community hubs during the summer months.

Children in Scotland is acutely aware of the pressure low income families face over the holidays. “It is more than just food, it is giving families the opportunity to spend time together socially,” Jackie Brock, Chief Executive of Children in Scotland explained.

Now in its third year, the programme has extended from two local authorities to four, and is offering 20,300 places to children and parents over July and August. This year, Food, Families, Futures is taking place within schools and community centres in Glasgow, East Lothian, Perth and Kinross, and East Dunbartonshire, and sessions range from part-day to full-day, with clubs running from between 5 and 25 days over the summer holiday period.

For example, in one of the clubs the school is working with FARE (Family Action in Rogerfield and Easterhouse). As part of the Food, Families, Futures programme, FARE is offering fun, physical, educational and creative sessions. The children receive breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack. There is also the opportunity for children to learn new skills and to spend time with their families.

Across the clubs, parents are also given the opportunity to learn and develop new skills, including working towards a food qualification by being taught how to make healthy, fresh, affordable meals by qualified community chefs.

This has led to parents having the opportunity to share their cooking with their children during lunchtime, and eat the meal together. Parents are also encouraged to recreate the meals at home.

We had a parent who excelled so well at the food qualification that they were actually working as a community chef the following year, supporting other families

This approach appears to be having long-term benefits with some choosing to continue their learning and their relationship with food beyond the programme.

“We had a parent who excelled so well at the food qualification that they were actually working as a community chef the following year, supporting other families,” said Jackie.

Children in Scotland believes that giving families access to healthy food and social activities is a positive way to eliminate inequalities and improve the attainment gap, as well as reduce obesity.

Brakes Meals & More supports families across the UK and works with Children in Scotland to reduce food poverty over the summer months through the partnership.

“Thanks to Meals & More and the local councils involved, Food Families, Futures is opening up schools so that even more families can access quality food and activities during the long summer break”, said Jackie, “and we are working with other local authorities to keep expanding the programme.”

To find out more about Food, Families, Futures, visit:
https://childreninscotland.org.uk/children-in-scotland-food-project-offers-20000-places-to-children-and-families-this-summer/

To find out more about Meals & More, visit:
http://www.brakesgroup.com/responsibility/meals-more

Alongside the partnership of Children in Scotland and Brakes’ Meals & More, the programme is also possible thanks to funding provided by DWF Foundation, Glasgow Flightpath Fund (Dumbarton), Clyde 1 Cash for Kids and the Gannochy Trust.