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Filling the Holiday Gap

Guiding points for organisations providing community holiday time meals for children


Our vision is to ensure no child goes hungry during the school holidays

Our mission is to support communities with a framework for providing good food as part of holiday learning, play and activity programmes.

Download APPG Holiday Hunger Report 2015


The 10 key areas to check when developing programmes that deliver food and enrichment activities during school holiday periods to address the holiday hunger gap:

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Why your organisation wants to deliver holiday meals? – Consider your understanding of local children and young people’s nutritional and wellbeing needs and the ethos of other groups you may wish to partner with.

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Have you agreed leadership for your project that has clear lines of responsibility to staff and volunteers, partners and funders? Consider who is best to lead your project and what useful skills you will need to make it successful

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Have you worked out a budget for your project? Assess your capacity in relation to community need and work out what your project can realistically do. Timetable what you will need by way of resources and when. Consider how your project may align to existing statutory services including health and education

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Have you contacted the right partners to help refer and deliver? Get in touch with schools, family support teams, agencies such as public health and your local council teams, organisations, food suppliers and individuals that can help short, medium and long term with your project. Formalise their support and agree referral routes. Consider working with existing programmes

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Have you the right policies in place that protect your project and the children that will be in your care? Ensure you have the correct policies in place for working with vulnerable children and families. These may include - health and safety, food hygiene, child protection, confidentiality, safe guarding, and public insurance. Also make sure your activities are compliant with Ofsted /HMI/HSC/Estyn requirements when working with children. Safe working practices require these by law in the UK.

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Have you found the right venue for your project? Identify and secure a delivery site for the duration of your project that has the capacity to meet your project’s needs. If working with existing programmes ensure you are able to adapt either your delivery or the site appropriately.

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How will you ensure your project is delivered well? Do your project marketing in advance, and register all referrals with special reference to dietary requirements and additional needs as required. Source your food and plan its preparation. Ensure all frontline staff have the correct certification and training needed. Have your resources and documentation in place e.g. - food safety manual, policies. As far as possible engage potential participants or their advocates/families in informing the delivery design regarding food and activities.

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Have you considered all the elements that will make your project a good social experience as well as providing good food? Play and fun activities make a valuable part of a successful project so agree with your partners how many days your project will run, what it will offer, who will be at each session and the time it will be on. You may wish to regularly invite outside agencies to help signpost to other supportive services

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Have you considered your food options? You may wish to vary your offer between a hot service, pack lunch, make and taste self-catering or a mixture. Dietary requirements and cultural preferences should be accommodated. Offer where possible food that is freshly prepared and healthy.

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Have you thought about the impact your project may have? It’s important to keep a record of participation and activities. Monitoring and evaluating your project will help you to adapt your activities to ensure your project best meets the needs and preferences of participants. This can help give ideas of how your project can be continually improved or identify where you may be having challenges. This will also help support fundraising and demonstrate the outcomes of how your project is helping your community.