Thanks to funding from Food Nation and Newcastle Public Health, YMCA Newcastle will be helping to tackle food poverty among children and young people in Byker and Walker, as well as helping them to learn more about growing food and cooking nutritious meals.
Children who rely on free school meals will be able to enjoy free healthy packed lunches and school-meal standard hot meals throughout school holiday periods (including half-term breaks) at our cafe in Walker Park between October and May as part of the initiative- helping to tackle holiday hunger in low-income households where school holidays present significant financial challenges to families.
Our Walker youth project will also be providing free food skills sessions to local children- supporting them to prepare their own, nutritious meals using fresh and cheap ingredients. In the process, children will learn how to slice fruit and vegetables among other basic kitchen skills.
Children will also experience a unique opportunity to visit our Urban Mushroom farm and learn about how waste coffee grounds can be used to grow fresh oyster mushrooms- and get their hands dirty by preparing their very own, grow-at-home kit to take away with them.
Jeff Hurst, Chief Executive of YMCA Newcastle believes there is a real need for the project: “Given the high rates of childhood obesity in Byker and Walker, along with the financial challenges that families face as they try to replace free school meals during holiday periods, there’s a real need for free, healthy meals for children in these neighbourhoods, as well as support to help them develop their skills and knowledge around growing and cooking food”.
The project will begin in September 2019 with meals available during the October, December, February, April, and May school holiday periods.