Bid to tackle holiday hunger felt by disadvantaged children in Hertfordshire

Disadvantaged children will learn about healthy eating as part of the Fit, Fed and Read programme. P

Disadvantaged children will learn about healthy eating as part of the Fit, Fed and Read programme. Picture courtesy of Herts County Council. - Credit: Archant

An initiative to help tackle the holiday hunger, physical inactivity and social isolation some of the most disadvantaged children in Hertfordshire will experience this summer has been rolled out at fire stations across the county.

The Fit, Fed and Read programme is being run by the Herts Sports and Physical Activity Partnership at six fire stations, including Stevenage, for four weeks during the summer holidays.

The programme, for disadvantaged children aged between eight and 11, focuses on healthy eating, sport and physical activity, and improved literacy.

Partnership director John O’Callaghan said: “I am delighted we are leading on this project, which will help raise the aspirations and life chances of some of Hertfordshire’s most disadvantaged young people.

“Having so many key partner agencies working together towards such a praiseworthy goal is hugely encouraging.”

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Children attending the programme will be treated to a nutritious two-course meal every day, freshly prepared and cooked by Hertfordshire Catering Ltd.

HCL will also be facilitating interactive sessions for the children to learn about healthy eating choices and experience making exotic fruit smoothies, using pedal power on specially-adapted smoothie-making bicycles.

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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.”

The local fire stations offer secure, indoor and outdoor activity spaces for the children to enjoy a range of physical activity programmes and fun literacy sessions co-ordinated by Hertfordshire Libraries.

Some of the firefighters will help to support the young participants in their reading and sport sessions, while involving some fun facts and key messages around fire safety.

Fit, Fed and Read will be running at Stevenage, Watford, Hemel Hempstead, Borehamwood, Hatfield and Cheshunt fire stations from July 30 to August 23.

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