19 June 2024

Wiltshire Council successfully provide free school meals over the summer holiday

Wiltshire Council has successfully delivered the Government’s Holiday Activity and Food programme to over 1,800 young people during four weeks of the summer holidays.

The programme, which aims to provide children eligible for benefits for free school meals with free access to high quality activities and nutritious meals, was delivered across Wiltshire using the brand FUEL and was funded by the Department for Education.

The programme consisted of ten face-to-face holiday activity camps, which took place in areas of the county where there is the greatest need and was delivered in partnership with Learn By Design, Occasional Kitchen and Purely Nutrition.

The camps provided the opportunity for all participants to take part in a range of enriching activities, including laser tag, access to a climbing tower, bubble football, drumming workshops, team games, arts and crafts and Olympic activities.

Participants also took part in nutritional workshops, including making healthy pizzas, super crunch breakfast cereal, fruit kebabs and healthy drinks. Over 10,000 hot nutritious meals were also provided along with healthy snacks each day.

Two FUEL summer camps for young people with special educational needs and/or a disability also took place at Springfield Community Campus in Corsham and at Five Rivers Health and Wellbeing Centre in Salisbury. The sessions were delivered throughout August and individuals took part in activities such as dodgeball, dance, new age kurling, cricket, boccia and adapted cycling.

One parent of a child who attended the FUEL sessions at Five Rivers commented, “The day was so well planned, prepared and carried out and I felt so sure that my child was in good, safe hands. He came home so happy and also calm after what was obviously a very fulfilling day. This is exactly the kind of holiday club that our children need – plenty of opportunity to exercise, challenge themselves, venture outdoors, eat healthily and give their bodies the right kind of stimulation that they enjoy“.

In addition to the FUEL activity camps, Wiltshire Council has also funded local organisations to deliver community activity camps in eight locations across Wiltshire. Participants took part in a range of fun activities and received a nutritious meal on each day of the camp.

Feedback from parents and children about the FUEL programme has been extremely positive, with 93% feeling that being part of the programme was beneficial to their children and 89% found the offer beneficial to them as a parent or guardian.

Cllr Laura Mayes, Deputy Leader with responsibility for Children’s Services, Education and Skills said, “Summer holidays can be a difficult time for many families who are experiencing pressure due to increased costs and reduced incomes. We are pleased to have been able to support Wiltshire families through the delivery of the FUEL programme.

“I attended two sessions and saw children and young people enjoying themselves, making friends and trying new activities. The session for children with SEND also gave parents respite time which benefitted the whole family“.

The FUEL programme will be delivered again during the Christmas holidays and eligible families will be able to sign up later in the year. Details will be promoted through all schools in Wiltshire in due course.

For further information about the Holiday Activity and Food Programme in Wiltshire please email fuelprogramme@wiltshire.gov.uk.

Written by
Beth Doherty
View all articles
Written by Beth Doherty