Hundreds of schoolchildren across Wolverhampton have enjoyed a programme of healthy exercise coupled with healthy food during the school holidays thanks to projects run by Wolves Foundation.
Schools may have been out for summer but it has remained extremely busy for Foundation staff who delivered the HAF (Holiday Activities and Food) programme at several of their partner schools which involved delivering various activities to pupils followed by a meal.
This totalled up to 500 meals every week during the six-week holiday supporting over 400 youngsters thanks to the HAF grant awarded by the City of Wolverhampton Council via funding from the Department of Education.
This has linked up with the Foundation’s own Feed Our Pack initiative launched back in January which was set up to support local foodbanks and also organise holiday activities as well as delivering food parcels to vulnerable families.
During the holidays the Foundation delivered 1071 food parcels, each containing enough food to feed a family for two weeks, to families who had children referred to them by local schools.
MP Vicky Ford, the Children’s Minister, visited one of the Foundation’s sessions at Fallings Park Primary School, who themselves have been part of the fundraising effort by raising over £12,000 for Feed Our Pack.
“We were delighted to have Minister Vicky Ford attend one of our cooking classes at Fallings Park Primary School,” says Ollie Locker, Food Poverty Project Manager with Wolves Foundation.
“We wanted to create a fun environment for the participants with opportunities to cook with other children to aid the development of their social skills as well as learning about different foods that they might not try at home.
“Vicky was great with the participants, she was really engaging and provided a lot of information about the ingredients that were laid out which in turn encouraged some of the children to try new foods and experience new tastes.
“We also know that many families struggle during the holidays so Feed Our Pack continued with the delivery of food parcels which have been so important across the community.
“We received referrals from local schools and provided local families with food support so they could focus on having a fun summer together.”
Mrs Ford thoroughly enjoyed her visit to Fallings Park, joining youngsters in a game of football before donning her apron to get involved in the pizza making.
“It is absolutely fantastic to see so many children having a really great time,” she said.
“I have been talking to them about what they would have been doing if they weren’t here, and for most it would be sitting on a computer or an Xbox and being on their own.
“Coming here they have been able to make new friends, learn new things, play games together and do some cooking – I have been really impressed.
“Exercise and taking part in different activities is so important both physically and mentally, and we know that when children take part in activities in the summer holidays it gives them more confidence and they are more ready to learn when they come back to school.
“This initiative also makes sure children have access to healthy meals, as well as giving the family much needed childcare if they need to carry on working during the school holidays.
“So I think this is great for everyone – exercise, fun, entertainment and enrichment for the children, along with some healthy food, and supporting the family with childcare.”
Mrs Ford was also full of praise for continuing work of Wolves Foundation as part of a strong community presence in Wolverhampton.
“The pandemic has been hard for so many people and I think it has been incredible the way people in the communities have supported each other,” she added.
“Across society I think it has brought out a desire to help the most vulnerable and we have really seen people step up to the mark to help those more vulnerable than themselves whether that is the very old, the young or those who have been challenged economically.
“Community support such as Feed Our Pack means that every penny from the taxpayer has been able to go that little bit further which is amazing, and I have definitely been impressed by Wolves Foundation.”