Abbeycroft Leisure Initiative to combat holiday hunger

Abbeycroft Leisure in partnership with Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils, has further developed its ‘Festive Food’ initiative to support families in need during February half term.

160 food parcels, containing ingredients for five meals for a family of four, will be distributed, via seven collection centres, throughout the districts in the February half-term. The box also includes recipe cards and links to online cooking tutorials, to help families prepare filling, tasty, and healthy meals.

In addition to this, a bird box making kit and other activities to encourage families to get outdoors will be provided.

This follows the success of their “Festive Food’ initiative, which provided, heat-at-home Christmas meals, ingredients and hampers to help support people spending Christmas day alone.

The half term initiative aims to help ensure that no child goes hungry when free school meals are paused during the school holidays, and also seeks to promote getting fit while having fun. Families in need are identified by local schools and must be in receipt of free school meals, or facing hardship because of Covid, to be eligible.

A recipient of one of the parcels in December said:

“We are extremely grateful to Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils, and Abbeycroft Leisure, for allowing our family to take part in the Explore Outdoor cooking project.  We have been able to use the recipe cards to make some nice food and do it together as a family.”

Covid, and the subsequent lockdown restrictions, has required the programme to adapt accordingly. Previously, food parcels, cookery lessons and outdoor activities were provided in person at events which took place across Babergh, Mid Suffolk and West Suffolk last year. The councils funded 200 free child places in each district for these sessions, and it is hoped that this face-to-face programme will be repeated later this year, as soon as restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so.

Frank Carn-Pryor from Abbeycroft Leisure, who manages the Explore Outdoor programmes and initiatives said:

“We’re very grateful for the support to once again be able to set-up collection centres this half-term for the much-needed food parcels and activities.

“We know how important physical activity is for children and adults, together with good nutrition which doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Our recipes and videos, designed by local chef James Carn, offer some very simple, cheap, nutritious meals that will satisfy the whole family.”

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