A programme to help tackle holiday hunger, physical inactivity and social isolation for some of the disadvantaged children in Hertfordshire returned to the county for the Easter Holiday.
The initiative which first ran in the summer of 2018 is a collaborative programme run by Herts Sports Partnership, HCL (Hertfordshire Catering Limited), Hertfordshire Fire Department and Hertfordshire Library Service.
The Fit, Fed and Read programme for children aged 8 to 11, focuses on healthy eating, sport and physical activity, and improved literacy.
Children who attend the programme are treated to a nourishing hot meal, prepared and freshly cooked by a team from HCL, who also provide education catering facilities to over 450 schools, academies and colleges around the county.
HCL also initiated special learning sessions where the children were blind-folded and then given a piece of fruit or vegetable to guess what it is. They were also given the opportunity to make their own fresh smoothies by using pedal power on smoothie making bicycles.
Angela Pearson, a Training and Development Supervisor at HCL said: “We encourage children to learn about the benefits of a balanced, healthy diet. A lot of the children have not tried or seen many of the food on display such as asparagus or artichokes, so it is nice teaching them about all the variety of foods on offer and encouraging them to taste different food.”
HCL Chief Executive Ian Hamilton said: “We’re proud to support the Fit, Fed and Read programme.
Holiday hunger is a huge issue around the nation, with more and more research showing some children do not get the same nutritious food during their holidays as they do at school.
We hope this programme will help to work towards addressing these issues in Hertfordshire.
We would also like to thank Onslow St Audrey’s, Barnwell Middle, Tudor Primary, Kingsway Junior and Andrews Lane Primary schools for allowing us to use their kitchens to cook for the children attending the programme.”
Rory, a 9-year-old boy from Hertfordshire said: “Since coming to the sessions I have made some new friends and I have learnt about different types of food and their benefits.
I liked the smoothie making pedal bike. It was fun filling the jug with all different fruits and then using the pedal to mix it into a delicious smoothie.”
The Fit, Fed, Read programme will continue to run for the remainder of the Easter Holiday. The programme returns to Hertfordshire in the summer. Events are scheduled to take place across 10 fire stations in the county with the aim to tackle holiday hunger.