For the past two summers, we have worked with St. Mary’s C of E Primary School in Moss Side to deliver one of 12 Holiday Kitchen programmes facilitated by housing providers across Greater Manchester. The aim is to provide free meals and fun activities to improve the well-being of children from vulnerable families over the often stressful and expensive summer holiday period and to give families tips for cooking healthy and nutritious meals on a budget.
For many vulnerable and low-income families, nursery and school holiday periods are a time of stress and indebtedness. The combination of not having a free school meal with the rising costs of childcare and the loss of regular social contact and play opportunities can cause financial, emotional, nutritional, educational and social challenges that can have longer-term impacts. Holiday Kitchen is an eight-day family well-being programme established in summer 2013 by Birmingham-based housing association, Ashrammoseley supported by Public Health England, to support families to overcome these holiday challenges. Each half-day session starts with everyone sitting down to a nutritious breakfast, followed by an educational play activity and closes with everyone enjoying a nutritious lunch. Parents and carers encouraged to take an active role in activities alongside their children.
The Greater Manchester Housing Providers Group, a collaboration of 14 of the region’s social housing providers has rolled out Holiday Kitchen across the region, with each provider working with local partners to deliver a programme of activities to reduce the financial and emotional strain of the holidays on vulnerable families, particularly families from the Troubled Families programme.
"We do good stuff like making pizzas and we made the pizza and soup at home. I know tomatoes, cucumbers and salads are good for you. The best one is cucumber because it’s yummy."
Holiday Kitchen participant, aged 6
"It’s been really useful getting tips on reducing your shopping bills and getting new ideas of things I can make with the kids. Every little helps! The children have really looked forward to coming along. It’s had them eating stuff they wouldn’t normally eat because they see other kids eating it. We had Elaine in from Money Matters too who gave us really good money saving tips."
Holiday Kitchen participant and mum of six
It’s been really useful getting tips on reducing your shopping bills.