Struggling families in Nottingham are to receive more support over Easter through school food vouchers and outdoor holiday activities.
The City Council has repeatedly made £15-per-week vouchers available to all pupils who receive free school meals (FSM) over holiday periods. These are issued to parents ahead of their children breaking up from school.
Alongside the supermarket vouchers will be a number of outdoor holiday activities across Nottingham. At these, FSM pupils will receive a free lunch, plus a programme of activities focused on healthy eating, fitness and mental health.
The two projects have been funded through a combined award of £3.68 million from the Household Support Grant Scheme and the Holiday Activity Fund (HAF).
The £1.8m HAF grant was, through a bidding process, made available to community groups, charities and schools with the ability to deliver outdoor holiday activities in neighbourhoods across the city.
Close to 20,000 children attended these clubs last year and were fed over the Easter, summer, October half-term and Christmas holidays through a continued link-up between the Council and Nottingham Forest Community Trust and Trent Bridge Community Trust as lead organisations this year.
The HAF funding has been allocated from the Department for Education with certain criteria attached. This stipulates that the support for tackling holiday hunger should be through free school meals pupils attending holiday clubs.
Parents can book places using their e-voucher codes which have been distributed directly to parents through their child’s school.
There are also a limited number of places available for children who aren’t eligible for FSM and these will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis by contacting activity providers directly.
Calum Osborne, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Nottingham Forest Community Trust, said: “We are extremely excited to work with Nottingham City Council and local organisations to deliver the City’s HAF programme throughout 2023.
“The partnerships we’ve established across Nottingham and relationships we’ve developed with families over the past two years has been incredible. We’re expecting to see more packed-out sessions and we’re looking forward to giving children the opportunity to develop new skills, build their confidence and learn about healthy nutrition in a fun environment.”
Mark Clifford, Community Projects Manager at Trent Bridge Community Trust, said: “We are really looking forward to working with Nottingham City Council and our local trusted partners to deliver this excellent initiative. We want to build on our successes last year to provide an even better holiday activity offer for the young people of Nottingham.
“Furthermore, the healthy meal offer for all participants will not only provide excellent nutrition but also provide some financial respite for parents during these holiday periods.”
Nottingham City Council has previously endorsed Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign to tackle holiday hunger.
At a meeting of the Full Council in November 2020, councillors highlighted the levels of child poverty in Nottingham and gave a commitment to support free school meals to children throughout the holidays in 2021 and 2022.This has since been extended through 2023.