Norwich church community continues FISH support
FISH clubs in Norwich (Food and Fun in School Holidays) have helped alleviate hunger in the school holidays. 5,000 meals have been served across the city so far – and more clubs are set to run during October half term.
FISH clubs are supported by Norwich foodbank, where clubs link with one or more local schools, offering a free meal and free activities to children from low income families.
An army of people ensure FISH clubs take place without a hitch from cooks and leaders to drivers. Around 60 people from churches, Norwich foodbank and the local community are involved each time FISH runs. Local churches offer their premises for the clubs — including churches Oak Grove, St Francis and St Matthews and schools, including Lakenham Primary, George White Junior, Lionwood Infants and Queens Hill. Since 2014, FISH has been the chosen charity for Smithfield Foods. Project manager Hannah Worsley said, “This relationship has included them providing staff as volunteers and donations of fresh and frozen meat, which has been a real blessing as the meat is the expensive bit!”
The clubs not only provide food, but ‘fun’ needs to a big part of each club too. Summer 2016 activities proved to be very popular as the clubs did several trips out, meaning a longer session which the children (and parents!) enjoyed and also doing some very different and exciting activities. The clubs took advantage of Tesco’s ‘Farm to Fork’ trails looking at food issues including fair trade, where things come from and healthy eating. A brand new activity we for summer 2016 was a trip to Growild—a place that runs forest school activities includiing den and fire building, bug hunting and toasting marshmallows. Hannah said, “We’ve already begun planning what new things we might offer in 2017, one of which we’re hoping will be trampolining as we know that’s all the rage at the moment.”
There are now many more ‘holiday hunger’ projects running within or alongside foodbanks nationally, as the Trussell Trust (a leading foodbank provider) has supported others in the network to set clubs up. Norwich Foodbank has helped to write a manual for other interested foodbanks and have had visits from Kings Lynn, St Neots, Colchester, Lowestoft, Peterborough, Gainsborough, Chichester and Wymondham who are all interested in the model. Hannah said, “While it’s sad that such a service is needed - much like the foodbank - we’re pleased that we can offer some practical support to families in need and that so many are able to do the same in their communities.”
FISH wouldn’t be able to run without the generous support of local businesses and people. Archers Butchers in Heartsease regularly provide meat to their local club Blofield allotment holders sent a weekly donation of fruit and vegetables which went down very well at FISH as families took items to use during the week. Hannah said, “Tesco were very helpful in donating potatoes and fresh fruit for the Silver Road club and one local gentleman donated fruit to the Cadge Road club to make fruit kebabs with. Thanks to ALL our food providers and donors for supporting us in this way.”
Click here to download the Summer 2016 FISH newsletter