The Berkeley Foundation has renewed its partnership with Kitchen Social, a Mayor's Fund for London programme, to provide food and activities to children and young people when schools are closed. Kitchen Social is the largest provider of food for children in London during the school holidays.
There are currently 500,000 London children living in households experiencing food insecurity, up by 100,000 since summer 2019. While free school meals have now been extended into the school holidays during 2021, not all of these children will benefit - in fact, there are at approximately 250,000 food-insecure children in the capital who don't qualify for the scheme.
Being food insecure means that at times a person's food intake is reduced and their eating patterns are disrupted because of a lack of money and other resources. Going hungry during the school holidays can impact on children's development and academic performance when term starts again.
Programmes like Kitchen Social are incredibly important for these children and their families. In addition to fresh, healthy meals, the programme provides high quality recipe kits to get families cooking together, build children's confidence in the kitchen and using other skills like maths and science along the way!
This will be our fourth year of funding for Kitchen Social. The grant from the Berkeley Foundation is expected to reach almost 2,500 children at risk of food insecurity across London. The programme is delivered through local hubs - many of which are in the communities around Berkeley's offices and developments.
Candice James runs one of these hubs - Loughborough Community Centre in Lambeth. She says,
"I can't thank Kitchen Social enough for providing food and additional support for our families during the Covid-19 crisis. Happy Lunch is so much more than a meal. For many children we visit, we are the only familiar face outside of their home that they have seen since the lockdown. Our project is vital the mental health and wellbeing of children."
This film from summer 2020 shows the programme in action.
We are looking forward to being part of this year's holiday food provision, giving young people across London the best chance to learn and grow.