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Children from low income families in Redbridge get ‘Fit, Fed & Read’ during half term

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 February 2020

Children picking up boxing skills at the Fit, Fed and Read project targeting low income Redbridge families. Picture: Ken Mears

Children picking up boxing skills at the Fit, Fed and Read project targeting low income Redbridge families. Picture: Ken Mears

Photography by Ken Mears

Children across the borough who might not have a hot meal at home were given a golden ticket to get fit and fed over half term.

The project helps children who are eligible for free school meals stay fit and provides them with two free meals during school holidays. Picture: Ken MearsThe project helps children who are eligible for free school meals stay fit and provides them with two free meals during school holidays. Picture: Ken Mears

School holidays can be a distressing time for some children from low income families who claim free school meals, as there might not be much to eat or do at home so Vision RCL is countering that by running its first holiday breakfast club.

Children, aged five to 11, who are entitled to free school meals from 15 primary schools across the borough were given golden tickets as part of a Fit, Fed & Read programme.

Demand for the project is high, with 60 children enrolled and another 30 on the waiting list.

Team members at the Loxford Youth Centre: Sylvia Ali, Emma Keegan, Christine Thompson, Maryam Ali, Anna Kolonir and Alison Burford. Picture: Ken MearsTeam members at the Loxford Youth Centre: Sylvia Ali, Emma Keegan, Christine Thompson, Maryam Ali, Anna Kolonir and Alison Burford. Picture: Ken Mears

Vision RCL Health & Wellbeing co-ordinator Deeba Khan said one parent with mobility issues called and said because they don't have enough money to go away on holiday their daughter is stuck at home and would just sit and watch TV all day before she enrolled in this project.

She said: "These are the children we are trying to reach so it is great to receive this feedback and know that the programme can make a difference."

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Every morning during half term at the Loxford Youth Centre in Ilford children can get a hot breakfast, play sports, read, do creative activities and take a healthy lunch home.

The project came about following a study conducted by the charity StreetGames, which found that 25pc of children in London are at risk of going hungry in school holidays.

Vision's Sport and Health team worked closely with schools in the Loxford area to promote the project, as it is the most deprived ward in the borough and 35pc of the population are inactive.

By providing these holiday clubs Vision is helping the young population to stay active and also learn about healthy eating, which could have a positive effect on childhood obesity in later stages in life.

Vision was awarded funding for the project by National Lottery Awards for All and is working in partnership with StreetGames to deliver it, alongside catering service ISS and the charity Felix project which is supplying the food.

Councillor Jas Athwal, the leader of Redbridge Council, said: "This is a fantastic initiative and I'm proud that we're giving local children the opportunity to try new things, explore new hobbies and make new friends during the school holidays.

"No child should feel disadvantaged, and parents should not have to worry about their children missing out if they can't take time off work."

If you would like to volunteer for the programme please contact the Vision RCL's Sport and Health team on active.redbridge@visionrcl.org.uk.


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