22nd Aug 2019

Pennywell Youth Project is supporting children and young people at risk of food poverty to enjoy a summer of food and fun, thanks to support from the Guy Readman Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation.

Rob Williamson, Chief Executive of the Community Foundation discusses holiday hunger at Pennywell Youth Project
Young people making ham and cheese kebabs, and fruit kebabs at Pennywell Youth Project

Holiday hunger is a type of food poverty that exists due to the loss of free school meals during the school holidays.

Mark Pierce, Director of Community Knowledge and Funding at the Community Foundation, explained:

“For a child in food poverty, the summer can be a time when food becomes less varied and nutritious, stresses within the family increase, contact with peers and other social and educational opportunities diminish and physical health declines.

Good practice guidelines from Children North East, highlighted in the  Community Foundation’s Vital Signs report, suggest that the best way to tackle this is through the provision of a 4x4x4 summer play scheme, where young people can access good quality activities and a nutritious meal for four hours per day, four days per week, for four weeks over the summer period.”

The Guy Readman Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation is supporting six 4x4x4 summer play schemes in each of the local authority areas in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland:

  • Pennywell Youth Project; (Sunderland, Tyne & Wear)
  • People and Drugs; (Blyth Northumberland)
  • Edberts House; (Gateshead, Tyne & Wear)
  • Churches Together in South Tyneside; (South Tyneside, Tyne & Wear)
  • Patchwork Project; (Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear)
  • Meadow Well Connected (North Tyneside, Tyne & Wear)

For its four-week programme running until 1 September 2019, the Pennywell Youth Project in Sunderland has been hosting a range of activities including arts and crafts sessions, a community fun day, gardening and cooking sessions, litter picking, and an enterprise week, where young people have designed a product and pitched business ideas to local investors.

Reverend Jeremy Chadd, Chair of the Pennywell Youth Project in Sunderland talks about its summer 4x4x4 play scheme.
As part of its 4x4x4 scheme, Pennywell Youth Project taught young people how to cook a low budget three-course meal

At a recent cookery session, young people learned how to cook a three-course meal of fruit skewers, burgers and a dessert of “Pennywell mess”. The sessions focussed on key life skills including the importance of hygiene when preparing food, how to make nutritious dishes that are fun to prepare without breaking the bank for families on tight budgets, and providing young people with skills to become more independent and prepare them for adult life.

Cassandra O’Neil, Project Coordinator at Pennywell Youth Project, said:

“The school summer holidays should be a time for family fun and personal growth but sadly due to the elevated levels of deprivation, unemployment and low education attainment, many parents feel isolated, and unable to cope during the traditional six weeks holidays.

“We exist in the heart of the community and seek to make a difference by providing good quality provision for children and young people to have fun, make lasting memories and eat well, whilst providing good respite for parents too. When children return to school in September, they can be proud of their achievements with many stories to share with their peers.”

Swing ball, a game much loved by young people of Pennywell Youth Project

The Guy Readman Endowment Fund was established at the Community Foundation with a legacy gift from the late philanthropist Guy Readman.

Sandra King, Chief Philanthropy Officer at the Community Foundation said:

“In his lifetime, Guy Readman was a hugely generous philanthropist that believed strongly about giving young people the best possible start in life. Guy would be very pleased to know that his legacy is continuing to do good and has recently awarded £24,000 to six youth organisations to host summer play schemes throughout Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.”

For more information about food poverty, read the Community Foundation’s Vital Signs report at www.communityfoundation.org.uk/vitalsigns

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