Housing providers One Manchester and Great Places Housing Group have teamed up with contractors Proline, UK Fast and organisations across the city to deliver healthy meals to children’s holiday clubs.
With the use of food banks becoming more common, especially over the school holidays, the Holiday Hunger scheme is taking steps to support residents of Manchester, with 2,700 healthy meals provided over the past six weeks.
Thanks to volunteers from the local community and a group of young people, all aged 13 to 17, helping out and giving up their school holidays, and with support from organisations such as Fareshare, and the St Mary’s C of E school, children who attend holiday schemes around Manchester city centre are benefitting from not just the entertainment and support from the scheme volunteers, but from a balanced and varied lunch.
One of the volunteers, 17 year old Amayna, said: “The summer is a great time to help your local community. My sisters, Nadia and Rukhsar, both 14, are involved with the project too, and it’s a great way to develop our food and hygiene skills and learn about organisation and responsibility, all in one summer.”
The Holiday Hunger Scheme is currently in a pilot stage, after Building Services Engineering and Maintenance Contractors Proline ran a similar project last year in Bradford and wanted to run it in Manchester. Due to the funding and time constraints, Proline turned to One Manchester and Great Places for support.
Lesley Brereton, Customer Insight & Involvement Manager, said: “It’s been a real privilege to work on this project. When children are in school, parents know that school meals are available and their children are well fed. Those families who get free school meals miss that provision and don’t have that comfort in the summer holidays.
“This project brought together companies who wanted to make a difference and volunteers from the local area who gave their time to come along and help make healthy lunches.
One Manchester Youth Opportunities Coordinator, Michelle Wright, added: “It’s about giving young people something they enjoy to do over the summer, as well as providing them with the skills and qualifications they need to succeed in life, all while helping to eliminate food poverty in our local area”
If the scheme continues to run successfully, the aim is to continue this project next year on a bigger scale, helping to support more families over the summer holidays, and providing more young people with the opportunity to volunteer and gain some essential life skills.
Michael Fraser, Group Managing Director of Proline, commented: “Proline are delighted to support One Manchester and Great Places by providing transport and a delivery driver each day over the six weeks holiday. Not only is it a great opportunity for Proline to give back to the communities in which we operate, it also provides all of our employees with the chance to contribute individually by investing their time in such an important community project.”
Lisa Green Community Development Coordinator from Great Places Housing Group said: “School holidays are a critical time; fun, safe activities and regular meals are an essential for healthy children. But they can also be a strain on family finance.
“Providing these lunches in partnership with staff and volunteers means that we are able to lift the weight off parents’ shoulders and help to reassure that their children are getting healthy nutritious lunches”