Portsmouth City Council's Play Youth Community Service, known as PYC, is ensuring a summer holiday full of free food and fun for families this Summer.
The 6 PYC adventure playgrounds and 6 Youth Clubs around the area are working with several local partners, including Fareshare Southern Central, Warburtons Worthing depot, and Portsmouth Foodbank, to provide healthy snacks and various meals on site whilst aiming to educate children around nutrition and improve their overall wellbeing before they head back to school in September.
The programme has been built upon to improve existing provision whilst increasing sustainability of the offer to ensure a balanced diet is encouraged in order to keep children's energy levels up for the many activities and trips that the service offers throughout the holidays.
The scheme gives children more time to spend on site playing and interacting with other children and families, whilst being encouraged to sit down and eat meals together too. There are also many opportunities where the children get to be involved in cooking some of the meals to encourage their skills around food hygiene and preparation.
Alongside the usual beans on toast offer, the sites are also receiving weekly fruit and veg boxes with recipe cards so they can offer healthier alternatives, which gets the kids involved with trying new things and cooking for fun!
The Holiday Food and Fun programme has recently linked up with St Luke's church in Somerstown, who expressed interest in supporting the programme and supplementing the wider city food offer for families, and local schools were all notified about the scheme to encourage families to get involved.
Portsmouth City Council's Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Suzy Horton visited the Somerstown Adventure Playground site this week to get involved and see the benefits of the scheme first hand, Cllr Horton said:
"Some of my fondest memories from childhood were at summer youth clubs and so it’s great to see it’s still happening across the city today. When I arrived there were children pitching in and getting excited about the different types of food that had just been delivered. It's a brilliant opportunity for them to get involved and come together to learn something new."
"Eating well, trying new things and learning about different types of food is so important, but so too is the community aspect of schemes like this, where young people can come together as a team and really feel a part of something. To know they're receiving a free healthy meal, making friends, enjoying all the facilities and also gaining new skills at the same time is simply wonderful.”
For more information on the PYC Play and Youth Centres across the area visit www.PYCportsmouth.co.uk