The issue of holiday food poverty is intrinsically linked to the issue of term time food poverty. Just ask the families of South East Londonby Alex Shilling / August 17, 2017 / Leave a comment
“I thought I was making a cup of tea for a real man,” my colleague Cindy barks in scandalised fashion at the delivery driver, who has just told her that he doesn’t want any sugar in his tea.
We’re in the kitchen at Plumstead Adventure Playground in south east London, near where I grew up. 15 years ago, it would have been me getting stuck halfway down that slide and ending up with woodchips itching down my t shirt. Today, I’m working.
Since 2010, Plumstead has had an unemployment rate significantly higher than the national average—and a much higher rate of working-age adults claiming job seeker’s allowance. Many families here struggle to feed their children during term time.
Often, these families are supported by their children benefitting from free school meals—but during the summer holidays, feeding their children nutritious meals on a budget becomes even harder.
That’s why I’m working with the Good Food In Greenwich action group, which prepares and cooks hot meals every week day for children across south east London who claim free school meals during term time. Today, Ainsley, I’m making chicken pasta.
The main challenge is keeping the kids occupied and out of your way while you’re cooking. “Is it nearly ready yet?” “Nope.” “Can I have just chicken?” “No Avram. Vegetables are important too.”
The problem of holiday food poverty is a nationwide one and has recently been highlighted by Labour MPs Mary Creagh and Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner. In July 2016, figures from the Department of Education showed that 15.6 per cent of pupils in state primary schools were getting free school mea…