19th Oct, 2019

Active Kitchen scheme looks set to be rolled out across Bromsgrove District to combat children's 'school holiday hunger'

THE ACTIVE Kitchen scheme aimed at combating ‘holiday hunger’ among children in some parts of Bromsgrove looks set to be rolled out across the district.

The project was operated in the school summer holidays in Sidemoor and Charford and offered youngsters the chance to take part in sporting activities to keep them fit and a hot healthy meal afterwards.

At last night’s Bromsgrove District Council meeting, Coun Chris Bloore tabled a motion, backed by Coun Luke Mallett, to extend the scheme  run by the authority in partnership with the YMCA, NewSong Community Church and the Oakland foundation.

The plan to ensure children do not go hungry in the school holidays was given unanimous support by councillors.

The events in the summer, at NewSong Community Church in Sidemoor and at St Andrew’s Church, Charford, were attended by 20 young people aged between nine and 14. Youngsters participated in a number of sports including gymnastics, dance, skipping, football, rugby, basketball, dodgeball and cricket and received free home-prepared meals.

Coun Margaret Sherrey put forward an amendment for the scheme to go before the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to see how many children could be helped across the district and what help was needed.

But, after concerns were expressed by Coun Bloore that an ONS investigation could delay the rolling out of the scheme, Coun Sherrey withdrew the amendment.

Members said they felt holiday hunger was an ‘invisible problem’ as admitting they could not afford to feed their children was something no parent would want to admit.

But if the support was there it would ensure the district’s children would not go hungry.

Coun Bloore said: “In the 21st century, no child in Bromsgrove district should go hungry.

“The scheme was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my eight years as a councillor.”

The scheme, along with how to fund the school holiday sessions for those who need them, will now go before the council’s cabinet.

The cabinet member responsible for health and wellbeing will be tasked with presenting a plan of action to deliver the project and to ensure the scheme is a success and sustainable.

The leader of the district council Coun Geoff Denaro will also be writing to the Prime Minister to urge her to provide Government support for the Food Insecurity Bill which aims to ensure statistics are provided on how many people have experienced hunger or not eaten because they did not have enough money for food.

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