In a drive led by the Bristol Law Society and the office of the High Sherriff of Bristol, law firms in Bristol have come together to support a campaign that will prevent thousands of children in the city from going hungry during the holidays. Members of the Bristol legal sector have committed to supporting this appeal by providing both financial and volunteering support to the campaign.
At the launch of the appeal on Tuesday 21 May, it was made clear that an urgent response is needed to save thousands of Bristol’s children from poor health caused by ‘holiday hunger’ this summer.
The charity Feeding Bristol, which provides outreach and support across the city through a network of community groups and organisations, believes around 11,000 children face regularly going without a decent meal during this year’s summer school holidays.
Feeding Bristol launched a city-wide campaign to encourage businesses to provide funding to reduce holiday hunger this year, as part of wider more long-term efforts to tackle it in future years. The campaign aims to raise £100,000 to provide food for thousands of children who normally get free school meals in Bristol.
Business leaders met at Burges Salmon on 21 May to discuss the extent of the crisis in Bristol and how they can help. And feeding Bristol is asking the city to help it to reach its target of raising at least £100,000 over the coming weeks to address the crisis.
Feeding Bristol chairman Andy Street says: “Bristol has the highest number of children claiming free school meals in the South West and amongst the highest proportion in the country at nearly 20 per cent, with around 26,000 living in poverty.
“We are acutely aware of the devastating effects of holiday hunger on children’s mental and physical wellbeing and had put forward ambitious plans to government to continue the good work we had been doing in the city last year.
“These plans have not been supported, so we have a funding gap which could mean that thousands of children will go hungry in July and August.
“This should not be accepted in one of the country’s most successful, thriving cities. We are working with city and business leaders to urgently address this crisis. There is a lot to do, quickly, but we have been encouraged by the level of support we have had so far.”
Working in partnership with FareShare SW, the funding would enable Feeding Bristol to prepare and deliver food to a network of activity providers, youth and community groups across the city. The funding would enable Feeding Bristol will deliver 34,000 meals to children and their families during the summer holidays.
One such organisation that would receive the meals is the charity Young Bristol, which operates a network of community clubs across the city. These clubs are open all year round and host programmes and activities for young people during the school holidays. The charity was a key partner in a pilot project run by Feeding Bristol last year, which helped provide food for nearly 2,200 children during the holidays.
“Our youth workers have been aware of the issues surrounding holiday hunger for a long time, but we have noticed that the problem has worsened in recent years,” said Young Bristol’s Programme Manager Matt Donnelly.
“When many of our children struggle to get enough food during term, it’s clear to us that the problem will be worse during the holidays.
“That is why this campaign is so important to us, and the city of Bristol. We hope as many businesses as possible help us to tackle this crisis and stop thousands of children and young people going with meals this summer.”
Feeding Bristol will deliver thousands of meals to children and their families through a network of activities and holiday clubs on all 30 weekdays of the summer holidays.
Raising at least £100,000 will help by:
• Providing more than 34,000 meals to children during the holiday period.
• Feeding around 5,600 Bristol children in the summer school holidays.
• Ensure the meals are provided through a network of activities and holiday clubs on all 30 weekdays of the summer holidays.
Businesses who are interested in helping can contact Feeding Bristol through its website, or make a donation directly via https://feedingbritain.org/donations/donate-to-feeding-bristol/