Food & fun in school holidays
FISH (Food (and Fun) In School Holidays) is a project facilitated by Norwich Foodbank to support families in need with meals during the school holidays.
It was started in the summer holidays of 2014 after a rise in the number of families – and therefore children – being referred to the foodbank for support. Children – and in some clubs parents too – are invited to attend a local FISH club where they are given a free hot meal, dessert and then some free fun activities which have included crafts and games, Kiddy Cook led cookery workshops, drumming workshops, puppet making with Norwich Puppet Theatre, as well as trips out to the Tesco Farm to Fork trails, the panto etc. The aim is to give the children attending a great time and the opportunity to experience and take part in activities they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do or afford. All the clubs are run by volunteers, including the cooks, and vary as to how often they run depending on volunteer and venue availability. Norwich Foodbank provides as much of the food as possible, but has also received charitable grants and generous donations and support from local suppliers.
One FISH club hosted by the Christian Fellowship, Norwich, operates in Lakenham with the support of other local churches. Clare Elkins from the church explains: “We had a fantastic FISH club in summer 2017 partnering with four local churches including St Mark’s and St John’s in Lakenham. It was based at the Lakenham Primary School and we worked with those who were identified by the school pastoral team. The food was provided by the Norwich Foodbank and a team of cooks came from One Church. Our volunteers were amazing and the ecumenical team was a joy to work with.”
Peter and Marguerite Phillips who volunteered from St Mark’s Church, Lakenham comment: “This project highlights the ever present need for local churches to address food poverty in our city and county and it’s a great way to network in the community.” The team in Lakenham have committed with Norwich Foodbank to run another FISH club in 2018.
Hannah Worsley, Project Manager at Norwich Foodbank says, “FISH has become a significant part of our work within Norwich Foodbank highlighting how the needs of those in low income situations is changing. Similar holiday provision is now available across the UK, many in association with the local foodbank, as we respond proactively to the needs of those who access our service.” FISH is one way to support and be involved in outreach to the local community and churches can make a valid and important contribution whether they choose to:
- Raise awareness
- Collect food provisions for a foodbank or a specific FISH club
- Take a monetary collection to donate to the cause
- Volunteer time and expertise to help support an existing group
- Offer a suitable venue for a FISH club to meet.
Speak to a foodbank about setting up and hosting a new FISH group. To find out more visit: www.norwichfoodbank.co.uk
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