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A generous donation from Waitrose Southsea has made sure children across Portsmouth will receive nutritious meals through the summer.

Waitrose gave £375 to the Holiday Activities and Food programme, (HAF Fun Pompey) which was used to provide nutritional food workshops teaching people running the sessions about providing healthy, balanced meals for children.

HAF Fun Pompey is run by Portsmouth City Council and funded by the Department of Education. The scheme provides free nutritious food and enriching activities throughout the school holidays, for children aged 5-16 who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals. It currently offers 17,000 free spaces for children, five times as many as when it launched last year.

The food at each event must meet a set level of nutritional value. Activities are run by a range of providers and the food workshop has ensured they all know how to offer healthy balanced meals.

Cllr Suzy Horton, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, said: “We are delighted that Waitrose Southsea is supporting the city’s children in having a happy, healthy, summer of fun. Healthy eating is necessary for children’s development, so it is especially important they eat balanced meals whilst experiencing all the activities that HAF Fun Pompey has to offer.”

Popular HAF Fun Pompey provider, The Young Creatives, recently used the information given at the workshop to host a social picnic for their lunch. The engaging and educational activity centred around food and nutrition, where children were given the freedom to create their own lunches from a variety of savouries, fruits, sides, and dips. The children then enjoyed their lunches sat outside in the sunshine. The Young Creatives said the social picnic was “Extremely interactive and fun. We encouraged all classes to experiment with flavours and textures as they tried new things and independently built their healthy lunches.”

The free healthy lunches are also introducing children to new and exciting foods, with Kate Ayliffe from Kings Church stating, “We had salmon last week as part of our lunch and a lot of children had never heard of salmon before, let alone having tried it.”

Since launching in Easter 2021, HAF has grown with each school holiday. There are 34 providers of activities this summer, which has doubled since the programme launched.