The summer holidays are a welcome break from the daily grind and provide an opportunity for families to go on much needed holidays, soaking up some valuable sunshine.
But for many, the summer holiday is a challenging time where the lack of a free school meal takes its toll on family budgets.
A recent report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger found that children were returning to school in a worse educational, health and developmental state than they had left before the summer.
Mr Sobel said: “I believe it should be the Government’s role to provide support for families over the summer including food and activities to maintain children’s health and development. I supported Frank Field MP’s Holiday Provisions bill earlier this year but unfortunately the call to provide food and activities in the school holidays across the UK was unsuccessful.”
Alex Sobel has this week visited Otley Food Bank to highlight the role played by
volunteers to help tackle the problem.
He said “Where the Government has failed it is left to the community to come together and support each other during the school holidays. Otley Food Bank provides food and other essential household supplies around Otley, Yeadon, Guiseley, Menston and Bramhope from donations provided by the community.”
Mr Sobel was keen to stress that it was important that people knew the Food Bank was there for anyone who falls on tough times.
“Whilst holiday hunger is important to highlight, it is easy for anyone to find themselves in need of a delivery from the foodbank. I was so impressed by the subtle, pragmatic and unjudgmental approach from the volunteers managing the foodbank.”
“I was impressed by the dedication of Shirley and the volunteers at Otley Food Bank who dedicate so much of their own time to help others.”
Shirley Parker, who manages Otley Food Bank said:
“We help people from all backgrounds who need us for a variety of different reasons. It is important that people realise that there is no shame in requesting a delivery from the Food Bank. We deliver sensitively so that nobody has to suffer any social repercussions even though we believe that there should be no stigma in asking for help from a Food Bank.
We are pleased that Alex is raising the issue of holiday hunger and we hope that the powers at be hear what he has to say and respond.
We are pleased to help our community, even though we wish that our services were not needed.”
New Weetwood Councillors James Gibson and Christine Knight have used their MICE (small discretional) fund to provide breakfast clubs at the Welcome In Café during the summer holidays.
Speaking on Facebook Mr Gibson said “Over 30,000 schoolchildren in Leeds are going hungry in school breaks because many families are struggling to meet the costs of feeding their children over the holidays.
To help try and prevent holiday hunger in our area, Councillor Christine Knight and I have teamed up with The Welcome In Café to provide free breakfasts for any child under the age of 16 that wants one.
There is no other criteria and you don’t need a referral, just turn up and enjoy a free breakfast at a wonderful local café.”
Residents can be referred to the Food Bank through professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers, Citizens Advice or by contacting their local MP.
Otley Food Bank provide food parcels to the most vulnerable families and individuals with the Otley area, including Bramhope, Yeadon, Guiseley, Menston and Otley and occasionally provide parcels for Burley in Wharfedale and Ilkley.