We need holiday programmes - to keep children 'well fed and stimulated'

We need holiday programmes - to keep children 'well fed and stimulated'

The following featured in the Chronicle last month, written by Chair of the North East Child Poverty Commission, Jane Streather.

Many parents in the North East will be relieved that their children will benefit from healthy food and stimulating activities during the summer school holidays.

We know that child poverty is increasing and that many families are struggling on a daily basis. Latest figures show that in Newcastle Central constituency 48% of children are living in poverty after housing costs are taken into account. Newcastle City Council and Street Games should be congratulated for their successful bid to the Department for Education (DfE) for £1.1m share of the national pot of £9m and so should Gateshead Council who has also won a share. But, why competitive bidding, what about those who are excluded and next year?

The North East has led the way in demonstrating that such holiday programmes are needed and that that the benefits are substantial. Two years ago the NE Child Poverty Trust working with Children North East and many community - based organisations ran a summer programme across the region. The evaluation by Northumbria University demonstrated that it was a win for all. Children whose families could not afford to take them away on holiday were kept safe, they were fed well, they made new friends and they enjoyed a variety of stimulating activities. Many felt more confident about returning to school and were ready for learning. Parents reported a reduction in stress with less financial pressure and more time for younger children.

So we know this works. The Government should have learned the lessons from this. Instead of another ‘pilot’ which excludes many children Government should be funding a service for all children. They should do this through local government finance, possibly an addition to Public Health funding, as this is the best way to work with community based providers. We look to our MPs across the region and local authorities to argue the case for adequate funding every year to deliver schemes tailored to local needs. 

 

 

 

Employers

Work has to be a better route out of poverty. Most poor children have a working parent.

Find out what you can do

Schools

Poverty leads to poor attainment.  Poor attainment leads to poverty.

Find out what you can do

Local Authorities

Councils have a duty to address child poverty through their services, jobs and contracts.

Find out what you can do

people icon

Everyone

Everyone can help to tackle child poverty. Every contribution matters.

Find out what you can do