Wigan charities braced for school holiday hunger
Charities and organisations in Wigan are preparing to feed children in the borough at risk of holiday hunger while the schools are off.
Fur Clemt will be running a scheme where youngsters can eat free every week day durig the six-week break at its Montrose Avenue base.
FareShare Greater Manchester, meanwhile, is urgently appealing for volunteers and food to keep young stomachs filled in Wigan and Leigh until term starts again in September.
Holiday hunger is thought to be a significant problem in the borough, with one in six Wigan youngsters being eligible for free school meals.
That can provide a vital safety net which is then removed during the holidays.
Fur Clemt is rolling out its comprehensive offer to youngsters from cash-strapped families thanks to a £1,000 windfall from an Asda Foundation Local Impact Grant, secured after it contacted Charlene Frodsham, community champion at the Robin Park superstore.
Katy Brittain, one of Fur Clemt’s directors, said: “The grant means we can do free meals for children for the school holidays.
“Holiday hunger is one of the main reasons we set up our project. We find it is a really big problem in Wigan.
“People are struggling to feed their children over the holidays. Keeping up with the demand for food can be hard work for parents on a good wage, never mind those who are dealing with Universal Credit and all these other issues.”
Katy says she expects Fur Clemt to feed around 40 children a day during the holidays.
Parents can also visit the organisation’s pantry, where for a small membership fee they can pick up 20 items per visit.
FareShare, which redistributes surplus food, is also turning its attention to Wigan and Leigh over the holidays by diverting healthy meals and snacks to the borough.
The charity wants food suppliers and producers to donate fruit, snacks for children, wraps and low-sugar juicesas well as cereal bars, sandwiches, yoghurt and spreads.
FareShare says that feeding children ensures not only that they can enjoy a varied, healthy diet but have enough energy to do activities like sport or drama, preventing them being stuck in the house or becoming socially isolated.
Last summer the charity ged 1,500 youngsters at 19 schemes across the region and says it is particularly targeting the borough in 2019.
Miranda Kaunang, head of development at FareShare Greater Manchester, said: “School holidays should be fun and full of new experiences, but the reality is it can be a really tough time for low income and vulnerable families - many of which rely on free school meals during term time.
“Without this access over summer, families face a period of increased struggle with children at risk of hunger, isolation and inactivity.
“Our ActiveAte summer campaign will support the work of frontline holiday schemes working with children and young people, by providing regular deliveries of quality surplus food ready to be made into nutritious meals.”
Fur Clemt’s cafe is open Monday to Friday between 11.30am and 3pm, with children eating free from July 22.
To donate to FareShare, http://fareshare.org.uk/ActiveAte