We are very excited to announce the launch of the brand new Food for Schools Programme, which will aim to tackle food poverty amongst children in Bristol. We are working with the Feeding Bristol initiative to deliver the programme, which brings together organisations all working to fight hunger in our city.
No child should go to school hungry
A priority list of 30 schools in Bristol has been identified by Feeding Bristol as those with the highest levels of deprivation and therefore best placed to make good use of food supplied by FSSW. Many of these schools already provide a basic Breakfast Club, but provision is often restricted by a lack of funds or capacity. In some schools pupil premium levels are over 60% and there is presently no state funding for food outside of school hours.
With the FSSW programme, schools will receive a wide range of quality, in date surplus food including the basics such as cereal and toast, but also dairy products, food for cooked breakfasts and fresh juices and fruit. Breakfast Clubs which have previously survived on bread and cereal will be able to access a much larger variety of foods for children to enjoy.
Holiday support for struggling families
As well as food for Breakfast Clubs during term time, food will also be provided for Holiday Clubs, when the absence of Free School Meals can be a huge challenge for families.
Many of the hunger issues faced by families are hidden, and school staff are often the first to identify those parents and children who are struggling.
12 schools have already been contacted and are set to receive food in the coming weeks, including several who are running Holiday Clubs over the summer.
“No child should go to school hungry, and no child should go hungry during the holidays. We want to make sure Bristol schools are supported with food to allow children to achieve their potential in the classroom, and support them at home too.” Julian Mines, CEO at FareShare South West
Cllr Anna Keen, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “The mayor has issued a challenge to the city to tackle child hunger. As part of the board behind the Feeding Bristol initiative I have been shocked by the amount of children around the city who are going without meals either in school time or over the holidays with over 20,000 children estimated to be living in homes which can’t afford to give them a nutritionally balanced diet. Our administration wants to take a stand on this and make sure that no local family needs to go hungry.
“Helping children to access a good meal before the school day not only helps them to be healthy but also can improve their ability to learn, improving their attention span and memory. This is just one part of a larger program of work that we are looking to do with the Feeding Bristol charity to try and combat hunger. It is unacceptable that we should have children going hungry and whilst we work as a city to find long term solutions to tackle wider issues around inequality, Feeding Bristol is an important part of meeting this emergency need.