A project that aims to reduce hunger, isolation and unfitness in children has come to work in some of Bristol’s most deprived areas this summer.
With 73 per cent of low income families admitting it is a constant struggle to afford enough food throughout the school holidays, the national scheme, that was recently launched by Prince Harry in London, is seeking to address a pressing issue.
The summer break is supposed to give children a chance to enjoy themselves, relax and unwind outside of the classroom, but the reality for many is that the period is blighted by hunger and a lack of activity.
With free school meals only available during term times and no physical education classes running, youngsters can become malnourished and unfit while school is out.
This can have a huge impact, both physically and mentally.
Children’s fitness can drop by as much as 80 per cent over the summer, compared with those who have a healthy and wholesome diet. Lack of activity can also isolate children from their peers – affecting their ability to function socially too.
Fit and Fed, launched by the StreetGames network provides nutritious meals and activities for kids, entirely free of charge.
Deputy mayor Asher Craig was at the launch event at Netham Park, St George. She told Bristol24/7: “There are too many children that we are aware of across the city, particularly in deprived communities, that are going hungry during the holidays.
“Even during school times, with the lack of breakfast clubs, there are lots of children going to school without breakfast. Initiatives such as Fit and Fed are crucial for keeping kids healthy, for weight management, and to ensure that they get a proper healthy meal during the day.”
Craig added that she would like to see this as a permanent feature throughout every holiday that we have here in the city.
The project aims to feed more than 7,500 children across the most deprived parts of the country during the summer holidays and will serve more than 250,000 nutritious meals.
StreetGames has helped to bring sport and nutrition to children in Bristol for more than 10 years, but, most importantly, gives them a chance to socialise and have fun with others.
In the past week alone, the new Fit and Fed scheme has managed to get 150 children fed and active across two deprived communities in Bristol.
The Fit and Fed launch event showed children engaging, learning and having fun with their peers at Netham Park, and importantly gave them a healthy meal.
TV chef and broadcaster Sherrie Eugene-Hart was also at the launch event, serving food to some of the young people present.
She said: “It’s important to get young people used to the idea that healthy eating is an option – and it doesn’t have to be boring, or plain.
The food being served to the youngsters consisted of fruit, vegetables, and both chicken or cheese wraps which provided them with important vitamins and minerals – and a healthy source of protein.
“If we can give them the idea that healthy food is a good option – then by at the next meal, they’ll be looking for the same kinds of foods, which are healthy – and healthy children are happy children.”
To find out more about the Fit and Fed initiative, visit www.streetgames.org
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