A LOCAL network is. crowdfunding to provide meals and activity clubs for local children to help combat ‘holiday hunger’ where some children do not have access to a hot meal during the school holidays.

Feeding Barnsley is a local anti-poverty network and is teaming up with Feeding Britain, a national charity, to facilitate a summer of activity, learning and fun for children at risk of missing out.

They have set an ambitious target of £50,000 in order to support 1800 children, and 10 clubs across Barnsley to provide meals and activities throughout the school holidays. It is a local response to a national issue with 3 million children at risk of hunger over the holidays, as the lack of free school meals and the additional child-care costs stretch groaning family budgets.

Feeding Barnsley, has ambitious plans to support local providers with a wide variety of activities and events. Crucially, the children will also be provided with nutritious meals and encouraged to get involved with cooking, growing and other food related activities. There is also scope for family involvement too.

There is need for this provision as evidence highlights that hunger during the summer months may exacerbate inequalities that already exist between children from wealthier and poorer backgrounds. Those children most at risk of hunger may also suffer from social isolation, loneliness, and inactivity. These factors combined can lead to significant weight loss or gain, and negative impacts on physical and mental wellbeing.

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Gareth Batty, from Feeding Barnsley, said: “The Summer Holidays are a time for families to spend time together and Barnsley Healthy Holidays Programme leads the way in our shared vision to put great food and activities at the heart of our vibrant communities. Over this summer Our Programme will mean that families can gather together around food and activities in 10 locations through the great work of community organisations working together to build a better Barnsley.”

Richard Chapman, from Feeding Britain, said: “Holiday clubs make an enormous difference to children and their families, not only by providing a community space and nutritious meals but also in that they provide enriching activities. Holidays should be about fun, laughter and development outside the curriculum and every child should have these opportunities regardless of background. This is not just an issue of food poverty but one of social mobility too.”

The crowdfunding campaign launched on Tuesday, to support Feeding Barnsley click here.