Last summer, Synectics Solutions helped spearhead a pilot, known as ‘Food and Fun’. alongside a number of other individuals and organisations, to help feed the vulnerable children who were without food over the school holidays.

To understand the key outcomes and findings of the pilot, we coordinated the creation of a report for Ruth Smeeth, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, which was presented in Parliament as part of plans to deliver the pilot nationally.

Taking place in Stoke-on-Trent North, ‘Food for Fun’, ran over the six weeks of the school holidays in the 2017 summer. In total, 150 children and family members benefitted from 4,323 free meals and fun activities that they would otherwise be without. Over the course of the six-week pilot, six methods of combatting food insufficiency were tested:

  • Direct delivery of food alongside multisport and craft activities for primary school children in their own school.
  • Direct delivery of food alongside multisport and craft activities in a community church with attendance from primary school children.
  • A ‘meals on wheels’ type method delivering food parcels to primary school children to feed the whole family.
  • Direct delivery of food alongside multisport at a secondary school, which was a public offering.
  • Adding packed lunches to an existing holiday activity for predominantly primary school children.
  • Serving community meals at a public venue.

The main driver was tackling the ever-increasing social problem linked to child poverty, ‘Holiday Hunger’; a national issue. This is where children and young people suffer hunger, food insecurity, and an unhealthy diet when the safety net of breakfast clubs and Free School Meals (FSM) are removed during the school holidays.

‘Food and Fun’ was supported by a range of organisations and individuals, including: City Learning Trust, Port Vale Foundation Trust, Swan Bank Church, North Staffordshire Allotment Network, Root ‘n’ Fruit, The Greggs Foundation, City Catering, Public Health, Co-operative Working, The City Council, Staffordshire Police, Tesco, YMCA, and Stoke-n-Trent Foodbank alongside another 23 volunteers, who together contributed over 600 hours of their time.

Donations of food included 240 oatcakes, from J B Oatcakes and High Lane Oatcakes, 90 tins of beans from Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank, 65 loaves of bread from Warburton’s 250 apples from Freshview, and surplus ‘in date’ food that Tesco kindly donated for six weeks.

To view the report on the ‘Food and Fun’ pilot, please click here or on the image below.