More than 21,000 free meals will be given to children at council funded school holiday activity venues this summer to tackle some of the pressures families face during the school holiday period when free school meals are unavailable.
With over a third of school pupils in Tower Hamlets eligible for free school meals, food poverty is a large and growing problem for many families, especially in the summer months. Children living in food poverty do less well in school and are more likely to be obese or experience physical and mental health conditions.
The council has approved almost £80,000 funding to provide meals for children attending summer holiday clubs and activities.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “While the summer break should be a time for relaxation and enjoyment, the reality is that families often experience a range of challenges at this time of the year. This includes financial pressures and difficulties in sourcing childcare or holiday activities, which are accessible and affordable.
“Our summer holiday provision will alleviate some of the pressure by giving children and young people opportunities to take part in fun activities and also have nutritious meals during the school break.”
On Monday 29 July, 11 holiday clubs opened in Tower Hamlets schools providing a free breakfast and lunch for 330 children per day. The holiday childcare clubs will open for 18 days over the school summer break to all who want to use them.
The council funded summer holiday programme also gives families access to sport, arts and crafts and games activities.
The council is also running a ‘Fit and Fed’ scheme and plans to offer an additional 10,034 free meals to young people attending activities at Idea Stores, leisure, youth and outdoor education centres. You can find out more about council funded holiday activities on the council’s website.
Councillor Danny Hassell, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Young Peoplesaid: “Our holiday programmes will encourage children and young people to engage in sport, exercise and a variety of fun activities and will also support low income families who may struggle to provide their children with healthy meals.”