A new project has launched in Leeds to make sure children are not going hungry over the school holidays.
The launch of the Old School Junk project comes amid evidence that some children return to school in September showing signs of malnourishment because parents, who rely on free school dinners, cannot afford to feed them.
The new scheme follows a Yorkshire Evening Post campaign to Feed A Family after it emerged 4,500 primary school children in the city could be going hungry in the holidays.
The Fuel for School project teamed up with The Light in Leeds to create the Old School Junk – a pop up vegan bistro and possibly a world first – where families can pay as much or as little as they can afford for meals that have been cooked up by trained chefs using food that would have otherwise gone to waste. The collaboration aims to spread awareness of both child hunger and food waste, and has taken over a renovated unit in the courtyard of The Light until September 2.
As well as the food, the project opens six days a week from 10am until 4pm Monday to Saturday and offers activities such as board games, circus skills and crafts.
Gemma Chidgey, deputy centre manager, said: “Old School Junk is an extremely exciting project and something we are all proud of and passionate about. Research shows that during the school holidays up to three million children will go hungry as they rely on school meals to feed and nourish them. This project looks to raise awareness of this and food waste, creating a space for children to eat and enjoy time with family and friends.”
Meanwhile, the Fit and Fed nationwide campaign launched at a Leeds primary school yesterday.
It is aimed at improving the lives of disadvantaged children at risk of holiday hunger, isolation, and inactivity. Sporty sessions run for a fortnight at Castleton Primary School and also feed children a good meal.