We’re helping to ensure that families whose finances have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are able to feed their children throughout the summer holidays, when the additional support of school lunches is not available.
In Scarborough, Whitby and Filey the newly launched Summer Superstars programme is distributing weekday lunch packs throughout the six-week school holidays for Beyond Housing customers’ children aged between seven and 16 years who do not qualify for the government scheme, while in Redcar, Beyond Housing is maintaining its support for the Helping Hands project, set up by the Ladies of Steel group in partnership with Dormanstown Primary Academy and local volunteers, and providing weekend lunches for local children who, in term time, are eligible for free school meals.
Many of the families have been hit hard by the pandemic, with reduced incomes, not being able to work or a lack of entitlement to benefits or the government financial support available.
The Scarborough-based Summer Superstars scheme will benefit around 100 families with 240 packs being distributed through five hubs across the area to enable easy access. The National Literacy Trust is also supporting the scheme by donating weekly prize bundle of books and magazines, together with Roald Dahl-themed activity sheets to help encourage children to stay engaged in reading during the holidays.
In Redcar, the Helping Hands project recipients have been drawn from Beyond Housing customers and children from Dormanstown Primary Academy who have been identified as vulnerable or nominated by their teachers. A pack of lunch items to cover the two weekend days for the six-week school holiday period is being delivered to each home by volunteers from Ladies of Steel and Beyond Housing. Each pack also includes a community-related challenge to keep the youngsters engaged, with the chance to win a prize at the end of the six weeks for those completing all challenges.
Stephanie Lake, Beyond Housing Community Connector Coordinator, said: “I’m delighted that Beyond Housing is able to support families who are struggling with the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and are finding it difficult to make ends meet in the short term. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and I know that for many families the lunch packs are a lifeline during the long school holidays.”