Children and Young People Experiencing Food Poverty - Notes from Food Poverty Alliance sub-group

Here are the notes from the sub-group that looked at Children and Young People Experiencing Food Poverty - all actions were included in the Food Poverty Action Plan for Greater Manchester. What do you think? Have we missed anything? How might these actions be taken forward, and can you play a part in this?

Children and Young People Experiencing Food Poverty – Dominic Coleman and Letitia Rose

Aim 1: All children have access to fresh, healthy, sustainable food during both term times and holidays.
• Develop and implement a Greater Manchester-wide framework for the provision of healthy and sustainable meals for children and young people, during both term times and holidays, with reference to the school food standard
• Proactively tackle food poverty both inside and outside of schools and support breakfast clubs in schools so children and young people can start the day well. For example, make the best use of access opportunities such as FareShare Greater Manchester working with key strategic partners to achieve greater reach across the region e.g. ASDA mobile vans and work closely with stakeholders on reaching the right places in local neighbourhoods.
o Who could lead on this – schools
• Encourage all emergency food providers in Greater Manchester (e.g. food banks) to ask for and encourage donations which cater for different allergies in children and young people.
• Reduce the stigma of poverty for children and young people and families e.g. a whole schools approach and initiatives such as school breakfast clubs.
• All 10 boroughs to support and coordinate holiday provision with food. Coordinate a Greater Manchester approach to access to food during the summer holidays, encouraging schools to improve access to facilities and kitchens. E.g.
o Work together on a joint bid, or coordinate bids, for funding from the Department for Education
o Develop a toolkit for holiday provision with food, including how to navigate safeguarding issues that may arise
o Sharing and replicating approaches and models such as Holiday Hunger in Wigan
o Holiday Kitchen type clubs with food focused activities, working with partners to make best use of Children’s Centres where facilities are available
• Work with GMPA and other partners including Housing Associations to raise awareness of children experiencing food poverty. Acknowledge the challenge and choice between heating vs eating and reduce the impact on low income families of both fuel poverty and food poverty

Aim 2: Provide food education both inside and outside schools, ensuring that young people and families are equipped for life.
• Good food on a tight budget as part of the curriculum for life
• Promote access to diverse food from different cultures. Celebrate and educate different food cultures and cuisines to bring different backgrounds and people together.
• Use educational classes e.g. cooking for children and young people and families. Strengthen food education both inside and outside schools, ensuring that young people are equipped for life. Using recipe cards, family courses involving parents. How to turn food parcels into meals. Educate schools on the opportunity and impact of these initiatives.
o Who could lead on this – schools
• Schools to open up and make available their kitchens to educate young people
o Who could lead on this – schools
• Increase the provision of educational nutrition classes for children and young people and parents to improve knowledge of producing healthy meals. Including nutritional messaging and information. E.g. Fur Clempt providing fresh meals and encouraging children and young people to eat more nutritious food, and smoothie bikes to engage with families and young people on eating fresh fruit and vegetables

Aim 3: Increase the take up of Healthy Start vouchers and free school meals
• All 10 local authorities should have a named lead for Healthy Start vouchers and senior-level champion for the scheme and set a target for at least 80% uptake.
• The GMCA should host a regular Healthy Start forum for those leading on Healthy Start work across the 10 authorities and their partners
• Encourage and promote the take up of Healthy Start vouchers and Free School Meals during term times. Promote the role of Healthy Schools and child food poverty at Head teacher’s Forums.
o Who could lead on this – NHS in partnership with schools

Other actions:

  1. Promote and share the impact of child food poverty to raise awareness of both the causes and effects on families.
  2. Continue meeting to bring together schools, local government, VCSE sector to join up and share what is happening. Determine what level to do this. E.g. locally at a borough-level.
  3. Research and scale up what works well in Greater Manchester and innovative and successful ways to reduce child food poverty, for example –
    i. Improve access by schools hosting open community fridges to access surplus food
    ii. Fuel for schools to share surplus food across the region through schools
    iii. Food Pantry models, including mobile pantries
    iv. Community Cafes
    Consider a partnership approach and bid working together to develop and apply for potential funding.