“We must act with urgency to stabilise the households of our vulnerable children. No child in the UK should be going to bed hungry. Whatever your feeling, opinion, or judgement, food poverty is never the child’s fault. Let’s protect our young. Let’s wrap arms around each other and stand together to say that this is unacceptable, that we are united in protecting our children. Together we can end this problem.” Marcus Rashford
I am sure we can still remember when Marcus Rashford stood up for every child in this Country and fought for school meals to continue through the holidays. Head Teachers knocking of their pupil’s doors delivering food from the school kitchen and local eateries and sandwich shops doing their bit to make sure every child (and in most cases) families, ate throughout the pandemic.
In October 2020 Marcus Rashford launched a parliamentary petition to #endchildfoodpoverty, signed by over 1.1 million people. The following month the government announced a funding package to help alleviate child food poverty. They announced the holiday and food programme would be expanded across the whole of England in 2021. £220 million was available to local authorities to coordinate free holiday provision, including healthy food and enriching activities.
According to Obesity Statistics: Facts and Figures in the UK (healthexpress.co.uk), the shocking results show that child obesity rates double during their years throughout Primary School. With more than double coming from deprived areas than least deprived areas.
- 13% of 4-5 year olds from deprived areas are obese.
- 5% of 4-5 year olds from the least deprived areas are obese.
- 26% of 10-11 year olds from deprived areas are obese.
- 12% of 10-11 year olds from the least deprived areas are obese.
We all know school holidays can be pressure points for some families due to increased costs (such as food and childcare) and reduced incomes from taking extra holidays to look after their children. For some children that can mean they do not get to experience holidays, getaways, or fun days out. We at Onside Coaching feel so proud that as a Country we can offer this programme to so many families.
In and around Stratford Upon Avon, Warwick and Leamington, Onside Coaching partnered with Café Mechanics made over 2000 lunches and delivered active courses over 5 weeks of Summer to disadvantaged families. Our active courses included sports, team challenges, crafts and forest school activities. Onside coaching set a plan to support every child within our care, that focused on different levels of competitiveness, independent learning, and strategies to keep their minds physically and mentally active.
Thanks to Café Mechanics, every child had a healthy lunch that included freshly made bread, a choice of cheese, ham or tuna sandwich, carrot sticks and cucumber, tomato pasta, homemade oat bar, natural yogurt, and a choice of fruit to have at lunch and as a snack. All packaging was eco friendly, as we are always trying to do our bit for the environment.
Our online booking system also allowed us to know every child’s medical condition, allergy and any other important information that a parent would want us to know. Each morning our staff would educate themselves with the listed information and children on our courses.
We have felt very honoured to be able to deliver these sessions and be involved with this movement in ending child food poverty and decreasing the increase in child obesity. We love the fact that we have contributed to filling the holiday gap, fed over 2000 children, and kept children active throughout the holidays. We can only hope the funding continues to help support disadvantaged families throughout England.
Since the Summer the Government have confirmed another 3 years of funding to continue the HAF programme. We have delivered another course at Christmas and look forward to grow our venues throughout the next few years. Enabling children to access free activities and lunches during the school holidays.
Does your child have access to a HAF code? If so, you may wish to use it on our courses. Haf.onsidelive.com