Four schools in Blaenau Gwent have run another successful Food & Fun programme, providing their pupils with physical activities and healthy meals and snacks for 12 days during the summer break.
Around 220 children took part in the programme this year. Schools taking part were All Saints RC Primary; Willowtown Primary; Glanhowy Primary and Abertillery Learning Community.
Food & Fun is a school-based programme that provides healthy meals and snacks as well as nutritional education, physical activity, and enrichment sessions to children in areas of social deprivation during the summer holidays. The scheme is funded by the Welsh Local Government Association and coordinated by local authorities throughout Wales.
Food and Fun was introduced to help children with their mental health and wellbeing over the school holidays. Some children experience social isolation and a lack of intellectual stimulation, normally provided by school or family enrichment activities.
This year, pupils enjoyed activities ranging from cookery lessons, first aid training from St Johns Ambulance and by working with Aneurin Leisure Trust a multitude of sporting activities including rugby, Taekwondo, cricket, dance, netball and skateboarding. Parents and siblings are also invited to attend once a week, which allows staff to engage with families to teach them new skills such as cooking, improving their own health and well-being and provide vital support for families during school holidays.
Councillor Sue Edmunds, Cabinet Member for People & Education says:
“Food & Fun has been such a huge success in Blaenau Gwent, with over 1,000 children benefitting since 2018.
“Food insecurity is a growing issue in Wales, and across the UK. During the school holidays some families can struggle to afford or access food that provides a healthy balanced diet. Some children also experience social isolation and a lack of intellectual stimulation, which is usually provided by schools or family enrichment activities, and this may contribute to widening the attainment gap.
“There are many benefits for delivering Food and Fun in Blaenau Gwent and throughout Wales. The scheme encourages children to be more active over the summer, teaches children about making healthier choices with regards to food and drink, therefore improving children’s diets and well-being.
“The children thoroughly enjoy attending the scheme and is a great start to their summer holidays. We are very grateful to the school-based staff who give up their holidays to run and work the scheme and to the Head teachers for their continued support hosting the scheme at their school, which is growing from strength to strength each year with more schools coming on board for 2024.”