£9.1m for free meals and activities over summer

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi has announced £9.1 million of funding to be used to help offer around 50,000 disadvantaged children free meals and activities over the upcoming summer holidays.

The Department for Education scheme follows a successful £2 million programme in the summer of 2018, which saw charities and community groups provide meals and activities such as football, play sessions and cooking classes for more than 18,000 children across the country.

Ministers have now more than quadrupled the funding ahead of summer 2019 so that even more disadvantaged children can benefit. Activities on offer this year will include a range of sports, healthy cooking classes for children and their parents or carers, as well as targeted support for the most vulnerable families who may already be working with social services.

Zahawi said: “School holidays should be a chance for children to have fun experiences and make lasting memories – and no child should miss out on that. That’s why we have quadrupled funding for free summer holiday clubs this year, with the aim of reaching around 50,000 of the most disadvantaged children across the country.

“Yes, these clubs will ensure children get a nutritious meal – but they will also offer the chance to socialise with friends and take part in activities such as sports and healthy cooking classes, to keep pupils active and involved in their communities throughout the six-week break from school.”

The 11 co-ordinators receiving a share of the £9.1 million are: StreetGames (Newcastle, North East region); Edsential (Chester and Cheshire West, North West region); Transforming Lives for Good (Bradford, Yorkshire & the Humber region); Happy Healthy Holidays consortium (Birmingham, West Midlands region); Barnardo’s (Leicestershire, East Midlands region); Suffolk County Council (East of England region); Family Action (Croydon, London region); The Romsey School (Hampshire, South East region); Plymouth County Council (South West region); Gateshead Council (North East region); and Leeds Community Foundation (Yorkshire & the Humber region).

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