The summer holidays: six joyful weeks of fun-filled days. Except for millions of families in Britain this is not the case. It’s shocking, but the reality looks much bleaker, with recent reports estimating that a staggering three million children in Britain are at risk of going hungry during the school holidays without school meals.
For Sian, a mum in her thirties in Middlesbrough, the six weeks of summer holidays put enormous pressure on her finances. Sian says: ‘Money really is our biggest obstacle - we struggle for meals over the holidays, and it’s so hard to find cheap ways to keep your children entertained.’ Trying to find the money to feed and entertain her three children is really tough. But in 2019 Sian discovered Feast of Fun, which changed everything.
Feast of Fun, run by Church Urban Fund’s Together Network in the north east, supports over 1,500 children, young people and families area over the school holidays by offering fun activities, healthy food and family outings in 23 locations in the Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland. When Sian first took her kids along to the nearest Feast of Fun, she was blown away.
‘I’ve been shocked at how generous it’s been. I expected that they would scrimp and save. But there’s been food for the kids, food for the parents and still there’s enough left over for us to take some home…. it’s been a godsend. I would not have had any food today if I had not come here’.
Sian and her children are just one family amongst hundreds in Middlesbrough whose summer holidays have been transformed by Feast of Fun from stress-filled to stress-free, from tedious to fun, from under-nourished to well-nourished. The food is important, but Feast of Fun provides so much more than this. There are day trips to places like the seaside and to wildlife reserve, and 1,500 free books were given to children to take home and keep to help develop literacy skills over the summer. When Sian’s children went back to school in September they had loads of brilliant experiences from Feast of Fun to talk about, everything from dance classes to football games to days at the beach - otherwise they wouldn’t have had much to say about their summer holidays.
The Big Pancake Party helps us to increase our holiday hunger provision in Middlesbrough and beyond – with Feasts of Fun stretching from the North East to the South West in Plymouth.
Help us end hunger and transform lives by Registering your Big Pancake Party here today.
Please note, Sian's name has been changed and these photos are taken from a different Together Network project.