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Lunch Bunch launch means free meals and activities for Islington children this summer

Cornwallis Adventure Playground staff (from left) Ben Bull, Jess Todd and Christina Henry, with two Lunch Bunchers

Cornwallis Adventure Playground staff (from left) Ben Bull, Jess Todd and Christina Henry, with two Lunch Bunchers

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More than 4,600 healthy children’s lunches are being offered for free over the school summer break to Islington families on lower incomes, in a pilot council project to help tackle “holiday hunger” and improve academic performance.

The fresh lunches are available for up to 750 children aged between six and 12 throughout August, and are linked to a holiday activity programme taking place in at two adventure playgrounds, a library and primary school.

All children eligible for free school meals during term time also qualify for the Lunch Bunch meals.

Cllr Joe Caluori, executive member for children, young people and families, said: “We are piloting the Lunch Bunch project during the summer holidays to help families who may be struggling during this long break. Islington has one of the highest levels of childhood deprivation in the country.

“We know ‘holiday hunger’ has a long-lasting effect on pupils’ progress after they return to school in the autumn term. We are one of the few councils in London addressing this important issue and helping to reduce the disadvantage gap.”

The Lunch Bunch scheme builds on the council’s pioneering policy of providing free school meals for all nursery and primary school pupils.

Islington was the first council in the country to provide this in 2009, and has maintained the scheme despite a 70% cut to the council’s core budget provided by the Government between 2010 and 2020.

Lunch Bunch is available for children aged 6-12 from families on lower incomes. It takes place in venues across Islington including Cornwallis Adventure Playground, Lumpy Hill Adventure Playground, Prior Weston School and Islington Central Library.

Children are supervised by experienced staff and have the opportunity to make new friends.

For more information about Lunch Bunch, email Lunch.Bunch@islington.gov.uk, call 020 7527 5959 or book online at www.islingtonlunchbunch.eventbrite.com.

 

Notes to editor

Any families struggling to afford food can visit an Islington foodbank. More information is at https://islington.foodbank.org.uk/.

For advice on healthy cooking in the home, the Family Kitchen project is a two-day programme that supports families to learn to cook and eat a healthy meal together. More information is at www.islington.gov.uk/familiesforlife.

As well as Lunch Bunch, Islington offers a range of summer schemes for children. See www.islington.gov.uk/heatwave to find out what’s on for children and young people aged up to 25.