26 July 2019
It would be fair to say that the Summer Holidays are in equal parts wonderful and chaotic! We have four daughters – two teenagers and two little ones. The change in routine brings its own challenges, without considering the Sudoku-like puzzle of juggling childcare and work commitments.
However, for many people, the challenge of the summer break includes having to find the extra money to cover food for their children that would normally be provided at school. For the families whose children receive free school meals, bridging the gap to pay for those meals now that school is out, is an insurmountable challenge.
The heartbreaking reality is that child poverty in Manchester is spiking. More than 45% of children in the Manchester Local Authority area now live in poverty. That’s according to the latest data from End Child Poverty.
For those who have never lived bellow the breadline, the situation is impossible to imagine but we can do something about it.
Last year, the UKFast Community and Education Trust announced a Holiday Hunger project to fund meals for these families. This week we reconfirmed that commitment, tripling the scope of the project, which provided 23,000 meals for children living in hardship across Greater Manchester in 2018.
The bulk of new funding is allocated to delivering more than 67,000 meals for children to alleviate so-called ‘holiday hunger’. These funds have been allocated to five incredible organisations:
- Bolton Lads and Girls Club,
- One Manchester Housing Association,
- Holy Name RC Primary School,
- Martenscroft Nursery,
- The Dean Trust Ardwick.
The funding for The Dean Trust Ardwick will go beyond just the holiday hunger remit. Here we are supporting the creation of a hardship fund which provides breakfasts, fruit, sanitary products, deodorant and PE kits for children who don’t otherwise have access to them. Teachers at the school often buy these items out of their own pockets.
The Holy Name RC Primary School funding is earmarked to provide a breakfast club for pupils during term time.
The next generation
Both Gail and I are incredibly passionate about supporting the next generation. We want to level the playing field to ensure all children have the opportunities to create extraordinary futures.
We know that poor nutrition has a huge number of negative consequences for children. This makes it difficult to focus in lessons or get the most out of the activities they take part in.
Ultimately, businesses have significant resources available to them. It’s our responsibility, as business owners, to use these resources to support the communities we live and work in. So this is almost a rallying cry – no matter what size your business is, look at how you can help people in your local community. There is always a way to do something to support your communities in one way or another.