It's hard to believe that child food poverty is an issue in our county today.
Yet, as figures from End Child Poverty show, a significant number of children in Derbyshire are living in poverty- and going hungry.
• 25 per cent of children in Amber Valley are in poverty
• 30.2 per cent of children in Bolsover are in poverty
• 27.7 per cent of children in Chesterfield are in poverty
• 21.1 per cent of children in the Derbyshire Dales are in poverty
• 25 per cent of children in Erewash are in poverty
• 22.3 per cent of children in the High Peak are in poverty
• 23.4 per cent of children in North East Derbyshire
Following the shocking recent publication of levels of child poverty across Derbyshire (click here for the full report), Feeding Derbyshire has teamed up with Feeding Britain to to provide activity clubs and meals for local children via a Crowdfunder.
They have set an ambitious national target of £50,000, £10,000 of which will contribute to supporting 8,325 children and 26 clubs across Derbyshire to provide 11,490 meals and 400 activities throughout the school holidays.
This Crowdfunding campaign is just part of the work that goes on all year round delivered by the Feeding Derbyshire programme. But the six week school summer holiday period is the main focus for this piece of fundraising. The money that is raised will ensure children will have access to basic but nutritious meals and the activities will keep them entertained.
These include arts and crafts, family reading and story-telling, climbing walls, magician, games and sports, den building, mask and puppet making, cook and eat workshops, mad science, dance, making hanging baskets and flower troughs, growing and allotment visits and more.
Evidence shows that hunger during the summer months may exacerbate inequalities that already exist between children from wealthier and poorer backgrounds.
The children most at risk of hunger may also suffer from social isolation, loneliness, and inactivity. These factors combined can lead to significant weight loss or gain, and negative impacts on physical and mental wellbeing.
To get involved you can volunteer to help at the holiday clubs or donate to the Crowdfunding campaign (please indicate you would your money to go to Derbyshire holiday clubs) at: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/healthy-holidays-summer-2019. Please share this link via email, social media channels or good old fashioned word of mouth to make sure Derbyshire children get the much needed money to provide these fantastic holiday clubs. This campaign runs until June 25.
A High Peak mum said: “I was feeling isolated at home during the school holidays and the children were bored. I heard about the Holiday Club, that there were activities and food so I thought that I’d go along.
“It was so nice that I didn’t have to worry about packed lunches as school holidays can be stressful and expensive. Not only did my children enjoy the activities on offer, but I did as well. They lowered my anxiety levels so I can relax as the children are busy and happy too.
“At first I felt nervous but the group is friendly and I have made friends. The food offered is lovely, the snacks are healthy and are always displayed nicely and the picnic bags for the children are great. We even made bread. I will definitely keep coming."
Jacqui Bell from Feeding Derbyshire said; “Ending ‘holiday hunger’ in the county is a major part of the Feeding Derbyshire plan. We know 15 per cent of school age children in Derbyshire are eligible for free school meals – that’s over 9,000 children. When you think that the school holidays and weekends equate to around 170 days per year the impact is significant.
"Research clearly shows that children who regularly miss out on meals and arrive at school hungry and thirsty are at a significant disadvantage, lacking concentration and the ability to learn.
“During protracted school holiday periods such as the summer holidays the impact can be even greater with evidence of children returning undernourished and underweight. It seems plain to us that this restricts a child's chances of doing well at school and their quality of life, now and into the future.”