300 Oldham children fed over summer holidays thanks to The Salvation Army

Date published: 04 September 2023

A church and charity has supported hundreds of children with activities and food through a summer holiday club, taking pressures off low-income families as many are still gripped in the cost of living crisis.

The Salvation Army in Fitton Hill, located at The Brew on Fir Tree Lane, relieved holiday hunger and financial family pressures over the school six weeks holidays, by offering access to a holiday club to the most vulnerable members of the Oldham community as more and more people find themselves pushed into poverty.  

The holiday club ran for four weeks, four days a week from 10am-2pm and saw 300 school-aged children signed up for the support which included breakfast and a hot lunch served daily as well as a plethora of activities.  

Kim Rogers, Community Manager at The Salvation Army Fitton Hill, said: “The cost-of-living crisis is still very real to a lot of families within our community, hitting low-income families hard.

"Many are struggling, finding themselves in challenging situations, deciding whether to spend what little money they have on activities and food for their children or on growing household bills.

"We felt compelled to offer something that not only provides fun to children but an activity that gives support to families too.” 

Children had access to sports and craft activities themed around special weeks, such as sports week and nature week, taking part in dance and football classes as well as making bird feeders and bug hotels.

Many families took advantage of the help on offer during the school break which saw them still able to work or continue to offer children the safety and stability that they receive during the school terms.

Breakfast was offered to all children attending and a hot meal was provided, with a different menu on offer daily.  

Kim added: “Some children come to us without having had any breakfast, for some families breakfast items just aren’t in the house, and for other children the only hot meals they get are when they are in school; holiday hunger and food poverty is very real and so we know the importance of us offering healthy, nutritious and hot food to the children who attend these sessions as well as snacks and a substantial breakfast.  

“During the holiday club we’ve seen children make new friends, open themselves up to opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have had and enjoy a hot and healthy meal.

"We hope that this offering has solidified our commitment to the Oldham community and how we do all we can to make life that little bit easier for the families who need it most.” 

The Salvation Army applied for a grant from the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) fund, through Oldham Council, to cover costs and provided church volunteers to run the club safely and efficiently. 

A condition of being awarded the funding 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 and its current clients to make sure the most vulnerable families benefited from the provision.  

The Salvation Army also used its own funds to be able to open up the age range to accommodate younger children, so families didn’t need to choose which child would benefit from the group.

Local housing association ForHousing works closely with The Salvation Army in Fitton Hill and also supplied funding for the sessions along with the local Rotary Club.  

For anyone wishing to support The Salvation Army Oldham Fitton Hill, donations can be made via the JustGiving page here, and whilst all donations are welcome, people are encouraged to donate only what they can afford.

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