Flintshire County Council, in partnership with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Clwyd Alyn Housing Association and Travis Perkins Managed Services, launched their holiday hunger initiative recently at Theatr Clwyd.

It is a shocking statement to make, but there are families in Flintshire who are in food poverty.  Food poverty is the inability to afford, or to have access to, food to make up a healthy diet.  Children are going hungry because their parents cannot afford to buy food.

To help combat this unacceptable situation, Flintshire County Council and its partners have joined forces with “Can Cook” to launch this ambitious programme “Share Your Lunch” providing over 18,700 free meals – up to 625 meals a day – over the six week summer holiday period to 20 play schemes throughout Flintshire.  This is huge undertaking and a first for the region.

Can Cook is a social enterprise based in Liverpool which was set up in 2007 as a food organisation working with people living in South Liverpool who didn’t have basic cookery skills. They also provide a fresh food catering service for care and education settings across Merseyside – and soon to be in Flintshire. They specialise in catering for children and older people, and primarily provide services specific to these age groups.

Flintshire County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Bernie Attridge, said:

“Share Your Lunch is an ambitious project which will make a real difference to hundreds of people in our community.  Children should not have to go hungry in this day and age.  This is a huge undertaking and a first for this region.  We have targeted the areas in the County where there are a high percentage of children who receive free school meals.  This is because during term time these children are guaranteed a hot meal five days a week and the six week summer holiday period creates a real financial challenge for these families and children who are potentially going without balanced meals.”

Hughie Owen, Project Manager with Travis Perkins Managed Services, who are the main sponsor of this scheme, said:

“Travis Perkins Managed Services are committed to making a real difference in our local communities.  We believe that children deserve the best start in life and childhood hunger should not be allowed to have an impact on health and well-being.  Research shows that children regularly missing meals has a massive impact on their behaviour, concentration and cognitive development.  Eating regular healthy meals enables children to thrive, so we are delighted to support this Share Your Lunch project.”

Robbie Davison of Can Cook who will be providing the meals over the next six weeks is passionate about the project.  He said:

“We ran a similar scheme in Liverpool last year, but this scheme is much bigger.  It’s a sad fact that 8 out of every ten people who go hungry in this country get no help.  We are here to change that – this scheme is massively important because every day during the school holidays every child will receive the best meal possible.  Everyone involved in this should be really proud of what we are achieving together.  This is probably the largest response to holiday hunger in Wales and England.”