FIFTY Warrington children who are experiencing child poverty, social isolation and were at risk of “holiday hunger” during the school holidays are being given support thanks to a grant of £29,000 from West Lancashire Freemasons to Warrington Youth Club.
The charity runs a Boost Holiday Club which gives offers activities and healthy meals over the school holidays. They work in partnership with local agencies to identify children who are experiencing child poverty and at risk of not having regular and appropriate meals while away from school.
Free places at the club are offered discreetly to local families in need and includes return transport to the club, a healthy breakfast and lunch and a timetable of activities that promote social skills, health and life skills.
Warrington Youth Club has been supporting children and young people through quality activities since the 1930s. The charity was originally set up by a group of mothers who were concerned about their children getting into trouble after school. It is now the largest youth provision in Warrington, and today works with more than 2,500 children and young people.
According to the latest figures, 27 percent of children in Warrington are living in poverty. This represents more than 13,000 children and young people who may not be getting their basic needs of food, shelter and care.
Holiday Hunger is an issue that has emerged in recent years, highlighting the vulnerability of children who are supported during school time with free school meals, who face the risk of going hungry during school holidays, particularly the six-week summer holidays break.
The aim of the club’s programme is to address the compounded disadvantage experienced by young people living in poverty who are unable to access developmental activities and nutritious meals during school holidays. Families, often left without support for the 13 weeks of holidays, struggle to meet the additional food requirements, find affordable childcare (one in three children with a working single parent are living in poverty) and provide meaningful sports, arts, social and educational experiences affecting long-term outcomes and perpetuating the cycle of poverty.
Dave McNicholl, chief executive of Warrington Youth Club, said: “We’re extremely grateful to West Lancashire Freemasons for their generous grant, which is allowing us to support 50 disadvantaged children during the school holidays. It’s also helping us provide ongoing support for vulnerable children and families through the charity’s wider programme of youth work. “