As part of our ongoing support for the Government’s Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF), during the Easter holiday we provided a range of interactive cooking activities for pupils and families in the Northeast.
Delivered through our award-winning Beyond the Chartwells Kitchen programme, and led by nutritionist Meghan Pearson, three fun and engaging educational workshops all about cooking and nutrition, were organised across different locations in Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne. The purpose of the sessions was to provide primary school pupils and families in the local community with an opportunity to socialise and improve their food education.
Reaching over 70 young people, the activities took place at Whickham School in Newcastle upon Tyne and The Allotment Project – a community-led initiative in Durham which organises regular food and gardening related activities for people in the local area.
Pupils learnt more about the importance of eating healthy, nutritious meals, while putting their cooking skills to the test by making fruit kebabs. At Whickham School, pupils also got creative by making hummus, equipping them with the knowledge and resources needed to help fuel their development and promote the importance of health and wellbeing.
We’re committed to providing young people with meals, entertainment and food education out of term time and we have supported HAF projects since 2018. Since last summer, we’ve reached 2,976 children and adults out of term-time through our workshops, and we plan to extend our reach this summer.
In addition to the workshops in the Northeast, we also work with several partners to help provide food and social activities to families that need it most. Working with organisations such as nationwide, church-based holiday lunch club, Make Lunch Transforming Lives for Good (TLG) and Kitchen Social, a London-based healthy food and social development, our partnerships are vital in helping to tackle the issue of food security and social isolation, and protecting the health and wellbeing of young people.
Meghan Pearson, Nutritionist, Chartwells said: “We’re determined to continue reaching young people and educating them on the importance of eating healthy and nutritious meals both inside and outside of school. We’re thrilled to offer young people the chance to enjoy learning about food with their families. The pupils loved making fruit kebabs and hummus and it was great seeing them so engaged in learning about how food fuels both body and mind.
“We understand that many families may struggle to fill the ‘gap’ that exists for many during the holidays, and the cost-of-living crisis is putting further strain on these families, so ensuring pupils have resources available to support their mental and physical development is vital.”
Hazel Davison, School Business Manager, Whickham School, commented: “We understand that the holidays can put a huge amount of pressure on families in our local area for many reasons. The support Chartwells provides during school holidays has a tangible positive impact within the community. Not only does it provide engaging activities that bring food to life, but it gives us the opportunity to engage parents and bring to life the nutritious food that is served to their children during term time.
“Food is a powerful tool that can be used to bring people and communities together. The frontline team from Chartwells fundamentally care about the children they serve at school, and that purpose is reflecting across the wider team. To have the support of the wider nutrition team in delivering educational workshops for the wider community is incredibly valuable and we very much look forward to building and growing this programme over the summer, through collaboration.”