In 2009 our Community Worker Fran Gardner was tasked by her line manager and Oxford City Council to set up an after-school club in Rose Hill, Oxford.
In just twelve months Fran raised £30,000 and in March 2011 the first session of Rose Hill Junior Youth Club was held.
At the Youth Club, local children and young people can enjoy a wide range of activities from arts and crafts to sport and free play. Some of the most popular activities are those based around food where children can both learn how to prepare nutritious meals and find out more about where their food comes from at the Youth Club’s allotment space.
At every session of the youth club, a healthy hot meal is offered to over 130 children and young people as well as unlimited fresh fruit. For some, this will be the only hot food that they have that day.
Over the last eleven years, Rose Hill Youth Club has fed thousands of young people and children in South East Oxford and has relied on donations of surplus to be able to do this.
As the cost-of-living crisis bites and people start to feel the pinch, Rose Hill Youth Club is receiving fewer donations of surplus food. To ensure that they can continue to feed local children, the Youth Club has launched a crowd funder called #HappynotHungry.
Our Rose Hill Community Worker Fran Gardner said: “Central to our ethos at Rose Hill is giving children and young people choice. We let attendees decide what activities they take part in, and we aim to give a decent range of options at dinner time as well.
“Dinner time at the Junior Youth Club is a positive experience for both the children and team members at our youth club sessions. Children have the opportunity to sit with their friends and socialise, they can talk about their day and build friendships with new children and staff, whilst eating yummy food.
“Historically, we have relied on donations of surplus food but lately we have found that more and more of our regular contributors are no longer in a position to help.
“In order to be able to continue to offer a variety of healthy, hot and delicious meals we need to be able to buy in more food. We have already hit our initial target of raising £3,000 and are hoping to raise more so we can fund meals and activities at the club in the future.
“I would like to thank everyone who has given generously so far, you are making a real difference to the lives of children and young people.”
Nationally 2.5 million children live in food insecure households across the UK. These levels are 27% higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly half of food insecure families with children do not qualify for Free School Meals.
Rose Hill is already in the 10% most deprived areas of the UK with 52% of children living in poverty. More families are now struggling to ‘heat or eat’ due to the cost-of-living crisis, so having access to freshly cooked, nutritious food, fruit, and vegetables is even more vital for their health and wellbeing.
You can watch the #HappynotHungry video here
You can donate to the appeal here
Thank you everyone for your support.