School Summer holidays are in full swing and here in South Tyneside voluntary and community groups are busier than ever with local ‘Food, Fun and Friendship’ clubs as part of the Feeding Britain local network.
Funding for the clubs, which are run by volunteers, was secured via Feeding Britain Crowdfunding and a small number of other funding streams. This follows an unsuccessful bid by the network to the Department for Education, which saw only 11 funding awards made across the whole country and none awarded in South Tyneside.
Emma, who is also a co-founder of the Feeding Britain charity, visited some of the partnership members today to catch up on progress of the summer schemes and to reassure local groups that she is continuing to raise the issue of food insecurity at every opportunity in The House of Commons.
Emma was able to chat with some of the children taking part in the clubs and also to the volunteers who give their time to make the summer holidays special for local families. She said:
‘Where the Tory Government has continued with relentless cuts, punitive welfare reforms and continued inaction on low paid and insecure work here in South Tyneside, our Feeding Britain network, our dedicated volunteers and the big-hearted people who donated to our crowdfund, have risen to the challenge yet again and made sure none of our children go without this summer.
The value and impact of these clubs shouldn’t be underestimated, in just one of our clubs over 80% of the children attending are eligible for free school meals. Teachers have told me that when children return from their summer break hungry, they have often regressed in their learning. Our projects bridge this learning gap through the summer.
I will continue to oppose, lobby and question anyone who tells me that these high levels of food insecurity do not exist, and I am so proud to represent constituents who have stepped up where the Tory Government has stepped aside. One little girl said to me this week, this has been “The best summer ever”. Thank you everyone who made this happen for her and so many others.’