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The Joseph Rowntree Foundation noted in a 2018 report that 4.6m people in the UK live in persistent poverty. Family Action knows from the people we work with that living in poverty can present other significant problems for families, such as food insecurity.

Here are some of the ways we’re trying to help address them.

Breakfast provision

At least half a million children in the UK arrive at school each day too hungry to learn. The National School Breakfast Programme, delivered in partnership with Magic Breakfast and funded by the Department for Education, is designed to ensure that children in the most disadvantaged areas of England have access to a healthy breakfast, without barrier or stigma.

With over 1,800 schools now on board, the National School Breakfast Programme is feeding over 300,000 children every day. Learn more about the Programme, the impact it is having – and how your school can get involved.

Food clubs

Without places like these we’d go hungry.’

Of the 500,000 rise in children living in poverty in the UK outlined in the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s reprt, the vast majority are from working families. Family Action’s FOOD (Food on our Doorstep) Clubs aim to help address this situation by providing good-quality food for local communities, while simultaneously freeing up more disposable income to improve their wellbeing. Families who join a FOOD Club can save an average of £600 per year in reduced food costs.

Physical activity sessions

Many parents and carers lack the skills or confidence to take part in sport with their children. With National Lottery funding from Sport England, our Active Families project is addressing this by building parents’ confidence around getting active with their children, and by providing low cost experiences for families that are enjoyable and convenient. The Active Families project also promotes good nutrition by encouraging families to eat a healthy family meal together. 

Themed fun days

There is growing evidence of a holiday experience gap, with children from disadvantaged families less likely to enjoy a family holiday or access out-of-school activities. Our themed fun days aim to address the issue of learning loss, particularly in the long summer holidays. We do so by engaging children and their families in a wide range of educational activities.

Our fun days include a free nutritious mean and have so far covered topics as varied as:

Keep an eye on this webpage for details of our new programme of fun days, which will focus on nature and the environment.

Family holiday clubs

School holidays can be challenging for families with:

  • increased food costs
  • a lack of fun and stimulating activities
  • social isolation.

Family Action’s holiday activities and food (HAF) programmes, such as Holiday Hub, support vulnerable and low-income families during school holidays by providing free nutritious meals along with opportunities for family bonding.

In 2018, for instance, we supported 40 providers to set up and deliver the Families, Food and Fun programme across England, providing over 14,000 meals. Read about the impact of our holiday activities and food work.

Previous holiday activities and food programmes

Family Action has co-ordinated large DfE-funded holiday activities and food projects that aim to help children and their families to eat more healthily over the summer holidays, be more active, take part in engaging and enriching activities, be safe and not to be socially isolated, have greater knowledge of health and nutrition and be more engaged with local servicesFor example, in 2019 the London Borough of Croydon and Family Action co-ordinated 79 holiday clubs across the borough as part of the Holiday Food and Fun programme. 

Family Action has also delivered smaller HAF projects to support children and families in the holidays in areas such as Staffordshire and Stockton,