Holiday hunger: 3 million children at risk of going hungry
In the fifth instalment of our series focusing on holiday hunger, we spoke to Jaine Stannard, the Chief Executive of School-Home Support, a charity working to provide personalised support to children and to tackle any underlying barriers to a successful education. Jaine outlines the work they have done to tackle holiday hunger.
With over 35 years’ experience delivering whole-family support to children in educational settings across the country, we know how challenging the school holidays can be for our poorest citizens.
Days out are simply far beyond the means of families we support, the costs associated with "back to school" are crippling – but it’s the loss of a free school meal that is most concerning. In the UK today, three million children are at risk of going hungry.
In the UK today, three million children are at risk of going hungry.
For many years, we have recognised families’ need for holiday hunger support, but have not had the resources to provide this – until now. Thanks to collaborative partnerships and innovative fundraising, we have been able to deliver projects based on the following principles:
1. Using our 35 years of expertise to target unmet needs and achieve lasting impact
2. In order to help children facing holiday hunger, we must provide support to the whole family that educates, changes behaviour and improves outlooks.
3. Deliver early interventional work that builds confidence, independence and resilience in parents and carers
Preparing and preventing
We aim to prevent holiday hunger by sharing economic and resource knowledge with parents and carers. We’ve created an economic well-being toolkit to improve financial health and develop resilience.
SHS practitioners also host group support sessions to discuss upcoming challenges specific to school breaks. We signpost local food banks, free activities, and ensure parents know where to turn in a holiday hunger emergency. This empowers parents to investigate opportunities in their local community and helps connect them with other families in the school.
We signpost local food banks, free activities, and ensure parents know where to turn in a holiday hunger emergency.
Relieving the pressure off parents
Thanks to donations from our corporate volunteers, some of the most vulnerable families we support were given a boost by receiving SHS Summer Support Packs just before the summer holidays began.
The packs included practical items to help them cope with entertainment and "back to school" costs, including supermarket vouchers and fun activities. This boost, coupled with the financial education provided by practitioners, relieves some of the financial pressure off parents so they can direct their funds towards essential items such as food.
Providing a lifeline
We’re piloting a six-week project to engage with families, providing sustainable support to parents and carers while our project partners provide entertainment to their children.
The project consists of bi-weekly sessions where parents and carers are given a new healthy recipe with ingredients to take home and cook in the evening. So far, the feedback from parents has been exceptionally positive.
Our realistic solutions seek to develop stronger families with the confidence and resilience to survive in a landscape of austerity. We empower families with the tools and knowledge to support their children throughout the year so that they can thrive and achieve in education – and in life.