Holiday food and fun with the Mayor’s Summer Lunch Club

Children across Liverpool will enjoy a summer packed with fun thanks to a partnership between Liverpool City Council and voluntary groups and organisations throughout the city.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson has committed £50,000 from his charity, The Mayor’s Hope Fund, to create the Mayor’s Summer Lunch Scheme.

The move comes as both locally and nationally, community groups and foodbanks brace themselves for their busiest summer ever. Many are working hard to feed children and families who have been hit with delays and reductions in their benefit payments due to welfare reforms such as the introduction of Universal Credit.

To help, a network of playgroups, schools, leisure centres, youth clubs and children’s centres are hosting a series of sport, arts, crafts and outdoors sessions aimed at a keeping children and young people active, healthy and happy. Food will be provided at all sessions.

Free school meals during term time are a lifeline for many families, and during the six-week summer break many children face going without. Ensuring that children have the security of a fresh meal means that they don’t have to go hungry and can return to school healthy and ready to learn.

Working with food charity Can Cook and Gourmet Social Enterprise, the project is all about food and fun for children and young people each weekday from Monday 22 July through to Friday 30 August.

Garston-based Can Cook has been tasked with providing 500 hot meals a day to supply 11 play groups and activity sessions in South Liverpool.

Laura Lynch Hankey, Development Manager at Can Cook, said: “Summer can be a time of crisis for struggling families, children who go hungry return to school malnourished and already behind their classmates. Through partnering with Liverpool City Council, our fresh meals will ensure that children in our city are not only fed but fed well. The food we create and provide is nutritionally balanced; it arrives fresh each day and takes the stress away from playschemes and families so that they can concentrate on creating memories with the children this summer.”

Whilst a team of volunteers helping Gourmet Social Enterprise will be putting together packed lunches for children taking part in activities at Lifestyle Centres and Children’s Centres in North Liverpool. Run by ex-offender Chris Brown, the scheme is all about supporting the local community.

Galloping Gourmets: Chris Brown and Danielle Forster from Gourmet Social Enterprise.

Chris Brown said: “We have been feeding children at nine schools through our café but we wanted to do more. We are really proud that the Mayor of Liverpool has decided to work with us on this project. We want to do all we can to make sure that children do not go hungry during the summer holiday by having at least one decent meal a day. Our goal is to make Liverpool the first city to completely eradicate holiday hunger and working together, I know we can achieve this.”

The city council has been working with children’s centres and schools to spread the word about the activity sessions. Local ward councillors have also been instrumental in gathering information about the number of children and young people who will be taking part and referring families onto the various projects.

The Mayor’s Summer Lunch Club is a new initiative and builds on work by the council over the past six years to provide food to children and families during the summer holidays.

The city council already works with the Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services (LCVS) and the Liverpool Play Partnership to provide activities and healthy food at 70 play schemes across the city during the summer under the banner Positive about Play.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “What is really important is that no child should be denied the chance to have a great time over the summer, based on where they are from or their ability to pay for it. We want to make it as easy as possible for parents to allow their children to take part, which is why we are providing fresh food every day.

“We want our children and young people remain active and healthy over the summer holidays. We are supporting a whole host of activities across the city that are all aimed at making the summer break an opportunity for the children to have fun, socialise and try their hands at a range of different activities.”

“We are really pleased to be working in partnership with a range of organisations and I am confident we can provide our young people with a summer to remember.”

You can find out about venues and activities for the Mayor’s Summer Lunch club here:

Liverpool Waterfront