Over 100 children supported through summer holiday club
published on 26 Sep 2022
Summer holiday club hailed a success as over 100 children supported during cost of living crisis.
An international church and charity has supported over 100 children through a summer holiday club, taking pressures off families as recent months saw many gripped in the cost of living crisis.
The Salvation Army in Walton, Liverpool, have relieved holiday hunger and financial family pressures over the school six weeks holidays, by offering a holiday club to the most vulnerable members of the Liverpool community as more and more families found themselves pushed into poverty.
In total, 120 children attended the club across the four weeks that it ran, and it largely targeted children receiving free school meals. The Salvation Army provided all children with breakfast, lunch, snacks and refreshments throughout the day.
Running four days a week, from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm, The Salvation Army received a grant from the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) fund, through Liverpool City Council, to cover costs and provided more than 30 of its church volunteers to run the club safely and efficiently.
Jeanette Griffiths, community manager of The Salvation Army Liverpool Walton has worked at the church and community centre for 15 years and has seen the need for support grow each year, with this year being the hardest for households in the community on the lowest of incomes. She said: “We see it week in and week out. The families that haven’t got the support. The families that are struggling as the cost of living continues to rise at a rapid rate. Increasing costs and the six weeks holidays combined meant a lot of children would suffer if there wasn’t any support on offer. A lot may not have got substantial meals. Some may not have even been fed, and this is why we felt it was important to hold a holiday club; to give a bit of salvation for those that are struggling.
“This was the first year that we have run the club and it has been a huge success. We’ve helped a family of eight; four of the children came and used the service. Whatever the reason, for the parents to provide for them is tough and it is getting tougher. We see the need right in front of us and we want to help. We have a need to help.”
Activities over the course of the four weeks included cycle safety, children’s entertainers, wildlife and reptile experiences and football training. A condition of being awarded the funding from Liverpool City Council was that 80% of the places had to be filled by children qualifying for free school meals. The Salvation Army worked closely and in partnership with local schools, its food bank clients and children’s centres to find the most vulnerable families that would benefit from the provision.
Jeanette continued: “It’s not just the physical need of feeding the family, it’s the emotional need too. Times are tough and sadly, things are only going to get tougher, but we hope that providing schemes like this, we can help take the pressures off. It helps in so many different ways, especially with the cost of living crisis continuing. The children weren’t at home using the energy, parents could sit and have a coffee and wait for them in our café if they wanted. We just felt that if they’re in our care, we were able to see the individual child and meet their needs and that for us is more important than ever during these challenging times.”