Sessions to provide children and youth with healthy meals and educational activities are back on the menu this summer with the return of food and fun.
The Welsh Government has provided up to £4.85 million for the WLGA-run provision of food and entertainment in schools during the summer holidays. Sessions provide children and youth with a healthy breakfast and lunch, physical activity and enrichment sessions, and information on food and nutrition.
The scheme aims to provide support to people from deprived areas, and this year the funding is expected to provide around 8,000 places in 200 cohorts. There is also a provision to offer support to children with additional learning needs as part of the plan, including 1:1 support.
Evaluation of the program from previous years has shown that these sessions have helped improve school participation and the general well-being of the children and youth who attend.
Welsh Minister for Education and Language Jeremy Miles said:
“The long summer break can be challenging for some for many reasons, and it is more important than ever that we do everything we can to support our children and youth. We know that there are students who are struggling outside of the school routine, and with the current cost of living crisis, families are feeling under pressure.
“The Food and Fun scheme makes the most of school facilities by offering fun activities and healthy meals, and can also play a role in helping children in deprived areas recover from the impact of the pandemic by supporting their well-being and education.
“Our ambition is for all schools in Wales to be community-focused schools that respond to the needs of their community and build strong partnerships with families and other services. Food and Fun is a great example of this, providing healthy meals and activities for children and engaging with the wider community.”
WLGA Education spokesman Councilor Ian Roberts said:
“The WLGA is very proud to run Food and Fun on behalf of the Welsh Government, a program that supports families during the summer holidays, a period that can be challenging for many families in Wales.
“The programme, now in its eighth year, has gone from strength to strength since its launch and supports more families than ever before with a healthy and balanced diet across Wales.
“During the summer holidays this year, Food and Fun will provide places for 8,000 children each day and that’s a potential attendance of 96,000 in programs across Wales.
“We would like to thank the Welsh Government for funding the scheme and all the partners from the different local authorities who work so hard to make this program possible and successful.”