A project aimed at tackling holiday hunger, isolation and inactivity among children took place in Plymouth during the recent half term week.
Mayflower Academy hosted the series of events that were organised throughout half term week by Plymouth City Council, Plymouth Community Homes and CATERed, where children were able to make new friends, get active and be fed a healthy lunch. The February Fit and Fed project is one of 10 similar projects running in 2018 in Plymouth which have been funded by The Big Lottery Fund. During half term week another Fit and Fed project was also held at Hamoaze House in Devonport.
Councillor Glenn Jordan, Cabinet Member for Culture for Plymouth City Council, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer the Fit and Fed programme here in Plymouth. It gives children the chance to take part in an affordable holiday programme in their own neighbourhood, make friends, take part in physical activity and learn new skills in a safe environment.”
Barry Mountstevens, Sports Development Coordinator at PCC’s Sports Development Unit has been running the sessions with help from Ocean and Ashley from ProActive Coaching which have seen children playing football, tag rugby and dodgeball.
Barry said: “The school holidays can be a difficult time for children, whether you’re home or hanging around with your friends – a lot of the time children are spending time indoors and we want to encourage them to get out and playing sports with their friends.
“For some families it can be difficult to afford to feed and entertain everyone throughout the holidays which are supposed to be a fun time of year. Children can be isolated if there are no affordable activity programmes on offer or can be at risk of going hungry because there are no free school meals. All the children who have come along have really enjoyed themselves and made new friends while keeping active and eating well.”
CATERed, the award winning school meals provider provided healthy and nutritious lunches for the children throughout the week.
Brad Pearce, Managing Director for CATERed said: “Providing extra meals during the school holidays can be a struggle for many families and there is evidence that the city’s food banks experience a peak during this time. We want to help families in a relaxed and fun way. Fit and Fed is a fantastic project that combines food and physical activity in neighbourhoods where this extra help goes a long way.”
Kai 11, was one of those who took part in the week’s activities and said: “After the first day my legs were hurting me and that made me realise that I wasn’t used to playing so much football. I used to play for a team but usually in the holidays now I don’t go out a lot because I’m playing games or on my phone. Since I’ve been coming here I’ve started to really enjoy football again and want to play more often.”
Ocean White, who was part of the coaching staff brought in from local company ProActive had a great week with the children and said: “Fit and Fed is an excellent project and we at ProActive feel privileged to be working alongside Plymouth City Council to help make this project possible and give young people a positive sporting experience during the school holidays.”