This summer over 11,000 school meals were provided to over 3000 children by Sheffield City Council and Voluntary Action Sheffield (VAS).

The joint project worked with a range of community groups across the city, including Heeley City Farm and Manor and Castle Development Trust, to provide activities and nutritious meals to make sure children didn’t go hungry over the holidays.

Nearly a third of Sheffield school children are provided with free school meals and during the school holidays face significant pressures on their family budgets.

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Public Health, at Sheffield City Council said:

This fantastic project makes a real difference to lots of children and families across our city. Alongside taking part in activities  they get food to cook, share and enjoy.

Last year families told us that they really appreciate this extra support during the holidays, that’s why I’m so pleased, that  by working with our community partners, this year we’ve been able to extend the scheme to more areas.

Maddy Desforges, Chief Executive from Voluntary Action Sheffield said:  “VAS is proud to have led this project which has made a huge impact to children and families across Sheffield. We want to thank all our partners for working so hard to meet the high demand. The holiday schemes not only reduced the financial strain and food insecurity for families over the holidays, but stopped parents feeling isolated and introduced them to volunteering. Over 3450 kids got out of the house and made new friends that will help them at the start of the school year. Families also tried different food and learnt how to cook healthy meals at home.”

Local charities who ran the schemes include the Manor and Castle Development Trust, Zest, Sharrow Community Forum, Heeley City Farm, Woodthorpe Development Trust, The Furnival,  the TARA in Firth Park, Shipshape, SOAR and Pitsmoor Adventure Playground.

The schemes used food provided by the Real Junk Food Project and Fare

Share Yorkshire who recycle unwanted supermarket food.

To find out more about running similar schemes, visit www.fillingtheholidaygap.org or to volunteer visit www.vas.org.uk