Norfolk Wildlife Trust and other organisations have worked alongside Norwich foodbank this summer to run FISH clubs providing extra support to families who struggle when schools break up and free school meals subsequently end.
Six years ago, the plan was to facilitate clubs in the long school summer holidays and six clubs in deprived areas met, with the support of local churches and the community. This summer – 2019 – eight clubs took place, with many meeting every school holiday period (half terms, Easter and Christmas) due the need families have.
As well as providing a free hot meal, drinks and dessert, each club also offers free fun activities at every session to ensure the children have a great time and enjoy their school holidays.
This summer education staff from Norfolk Wildlife Trust provided activities to seven of the summer clubs, many of them having multiple sessions. The Mousehold club was also able to visit Hickling Broad during their last session, supported by NWT’s Children And Nature fund
Other partnerships for FISH included Norfolk Libraries who provided the mobile library bus and / or staff and boxes of books to many sessions; and Chartwells who were able to run some foody based activities at three clubs this summer including DIY cereal bars and a smoothie bike.
Hannah Worsley, Norwich foodbank’s Project Manager said: “Many parents have told us over the years that they dread the holidays due to the extra expense of food and entertainment and many can’t afford to do much. Schools have reported that children accessing FISH are excited to share what they have been able to do and take part in at the clubs.
"The clubs have strong links with their local schools and they help to identify families who would benefit from this support, as well as identifying families accessing the foodbanks when schools are closed. We are extremely grateful to the churches, schools and volunteers who enable FISH to take place – providing venues, people to cook and serve the meal, people to support the children and the activities – and all those who have donated food and activities for us to enjoy.”