Holiday Hunger – The Good Grub ClubHealth and Wellbeing
What is the project?
The Good Grub Club helps to tackle holiday hunger by providing free healthy activities during the school holidays for the whole family. With the emphasis on getting the family preparing food and cooking healthy meals from scratch the attendees prep, taste, cook and eat together whilst enjoying other craft and sport activities in keeping to the wellbeing themes.
Who is the project targeted at?
Families eligible for free school meals, families on low incomes, and families who struggle or have to rely on food banks.
Why did the project come about?
The Good Grub Club is a project that was initially set up to tackle Holiday Hunger. It acknowledged that for many low-income families the school holidays were a real struggle, especially for those with children eligible for free school meals. The added pressure to provide extra meals and the astronomical prices for activities meant this was a difficult time for parents/guardians.
Abri recognised that offering those families the opportunity to attend an activity that is completely free, where they learn how to cook healthy, quick and easy meals from scratch and learn about the importance of having a physically active lifestyle could have an enormous impact in their lives. Especially when other services that may participate in are closed in the holidays/half-term.
Consequently, in response to these needs within the community, the Good Grub Club was founded in 2017.
It aimed to support families by offering a meal to those who would have normally received free school meals, educate them on how to cook nutritious meals on a budget and get them to become more active.
Due to the COVID19 pandemic, Abri had to adapt its model from face to face delivery to a virtual programme.
The holiday hunger agenda was brought sharply into news headlines following Marcus Rashford plea to end holiday hunger in 2020 when schools were closed due to the COVID19 pandemic.
In 2020 Abri commissioned Southampton University to carry out an independent evaluation of the GGC model and its impact.
How was this project funded?
Sponsorship funding, grants and Abri funding.
Outcomes so far
Unlike other clubs that tackle holiday hunger, The Good Grub Club is not just about feeding the families any food. We believe that the families have more of a chance at not only eating the food but remembering and cooking the food again. We try to use fun ideas to capture the children’s imagination and therefore will do activities such as butterfly design snack bags and healthy hot dog spaghetti.
Other projects will use semi- prepared food and talk through the next steps in demonstrations or provide information this is a hands on club using fresh ingredients where everyone has a role to play.
The parents, children, partners, CI Officers all prepare, cook, take part and eat together. Everyone models healthy and hygienic behaviours at club so we can support and model this for the home environment.
Good Grub Club started the process from hand washing, preparing ingredients from scratch through to cooking and serving the food. Everyone ate as a group which as well as being sociable, gave an opportunity for people to discuss what different parts of the meal tasted like, if they had eaten something new or if they had tried something new.
The recipe bags are different to a food bank bag of food or even a cooked meal provided. The fresh ingredients alongside the recipe sheet allows families to try another meal at home with their families so not only providing food but encouraging the ethos of cooking from scratch. Where special utensils/cutters are needed these are also provided.
Some of the sessions were held outside, preparing food on tables under gazebos. This gave more of a holiday camping feel and meant that some families were able to join the group who may not have responded to the flyer or door knock - as they could see the sessions taking place outside their homes on a communal grassy area.
We have offered parents a chance to gain food hygiene certificate, three of the parents have indicated they want to do this. Following on from this we have asked for volunteers from the families to grow in confidence in different skills and support delivery of sessions with Radian. This has developed their skills, confidence and employment chances.
As the Good Grub Club Team has remained the same since it started valuable relationships have been built between the stakeholders and the families. Families that may never speak to a health professional or Housing Officer now holding a conversation with these due to the many contributing factors of the Good Grub Club.
We know that projects work best when working together, therefore partnership working has been a major contributing factor to the success of this club. With different agencies bringing their different specialisms, not duplicating but making a sustaining project for the community to meet the needs of the people.
To create a 'co-ordinator' role to enable us to implement this model across our neighbourhoods