Yesterday, the Holiday Provision Steering Group for Southampton met for the second time. Thank you to all those who were able to come; and for all those who couldn't yet remain committed to the aims of the Group. It provided a great opportunity to regroup, learn, share and plan ahead.
Provision and challenges over the December school holidays
We recognise that December school holidays can present additional pressures for families, for various reasons. We took the opportunity to review what support was available, and what, if any, barriers were present so that we could start to think ahead to next year.
It was noted that often there is a timing challenge between an influx in donations or surplus food available and the ability to distribute to those families most in need. School closures, and varied schedules for holiday clubs, can often mean distribution points or support avenues are either less, different or not available.
However, some clubs still ran and City Mission food backs and Fare Share remained open. City Catering also distributed food through some schools or Sure Start centres. So with timely referrals and signposting for families - food is available. The Steering Group will continue to work to help ensure signposting is timely and inclusive of different avenues of support and explore sharing best practice across the school network.
Looking ahead to February and beyond...
Southampton is fortunate to have specific holiday provision clubs in Sholing (run by Make Lunch), Swaythling (supported by Make Lunch) and Milbrook (run by Radian) scheduled for February. These clubs are all on a referrals basis, therefore we are reminded that City Mission remains open and Home Group have various drop-in locations to ensure that families can access support and food bank referrals when needed.
The events page highlights other free family activities happening across the school holidays in Southampton. This page is regularly updated - anyone is welcome to add new events.
Plans for February and Easter school holidays are underway @HPSGSouthampton. So many fantastic suggestions being shared in the room. #FoodForGood @Jess_LunchCrowd @CityDinners @CityCateringSou pic.twitter.com/c9J3Z0UoYA— Holiday Provision Steering Group - Southampton (@HPSGSouthampton) February 13, 2020
How can businesses support the work of those involved in the Steering Group?
The Steering Group would like to raise the profile of food insecurity and holiday provision amongst Southampton's business community. The health and well-being of the City's children and families impacts us all, and through partnership business and organisations can help grassroot community projects, to larger scale initiatives that seek to lessen the impact of food insecurity.
We will soon be collating and distributing the differing ways businesses can support the Group's work - through fundraising, volunteers, or by gifting resource and expertise. To get actively involved in the Group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We thank everyone for their time in attending the second meeting and looking forward to working together to meet the aims of the Holiday Provision Steering Group. To keep up to date, please follow along on Twitter through @hpsgsouthampton.