Saracens Foundation | Feeding Futures Project
Over the past year, Saracens Foundation have been running their Feeding Futures project. The project aims to support children who are on free school meals during the school holidays.
Thanks to the brilliant campaigning of Marcus Rashford, people are aware of the struggle that families who are eligible for free school meals go through during the school holidays when it comes to ensuring everyone does not go hungry.
However, it is less well known that children who are on free school meals are at higher risk of isolation, inactivity and they often return to school falling behind academically their more affluent classmates.
Feeding Futures tackles all these issues by running a sports camp that free to access if you are on free school meals. Whilst at the camp the participants receive breakfast and lunch, ensuring that everyone who attends is well fed and ready to play lots of sport.
They take part group sport sessions, ensuring that they hit more than double the NHS daily physical activity recommendation, as well as interacting in groups and making new friends.
We also run one fun educational workshop each day, including problem solving challenges, arts and crafts, leadership and teamwork games. This helps bridge the educational gap that occurs during the school holidays for children whose families may not have time or resource to take them to a museum or support them with their schoolwork.
So far, the camp has run during all the large school holidays since Christmas 2020, as well as Feb and May half terms 2021. The Foundation have also been able to stat up Feeding Futures +, running camps with the same aims, but supporting children who are on free school meals but who also have Special Educational Needs.
Due to the chaotic nature of lockdowns and Covid restrictions the team at the Foundation have done a fantastic job of adapting what the project looks like. During February Half Term they teamed up with the Pioneers and delivered food and activity hampers to 80 families form Saracens High School, and Christmas Holidays 21/22 saw another delivery of hampers to would-be attendees of Feeding Futures +, they then all met up virtually for a day of virtual fun and games.
After surveying the families of the children who attended the camps we found that 71% of the families felt less stress about feeding their children whilst they were at the camp, and that 92% of parents felt that their children returned to school more prepared than if they had not attended the camp.
“My son had an absolutely amazing time. He didn't want to go at first as he thought it would be boring, his friends wouldn't be there, and I suspect he was planning to spend all week watching TV!!! But he had a fantastic time, after the first day he was really looking forward to going back - he was smiling from ear to ear every time I picked him up and had loads of stories to tell me about his day. He had the best time and was so glad he went.....a week well spent. Thank you to all you team for making it an enjoyable experience”.
“I have played a bunch of new games that I have never played before and I have just had a really good time, and this has made me feel a lot better about going back to school”