Since launching their first Holiday Club back in July, Manchester Youth Zone has continued to have Holiday Hunger at the forefront of their minds. This October half term they have joined forces with lifestyle solutions company, MoneyPlus, to keep tackling the issue.
MoneyPlus have funded a week’s long programme of activities and hot meals at the Youth Zone. The aim is to make sure that children, especially those who receive free school meals during term time, still have access to a safe environment and receive hot, cooked, meals throughout the holidays.
Richard Marsh, CEO of Manchester Youth Zone, says “statistics show that within Greater Manchester 32% of children are living in poverty – this figure is even higher within North Manchester where we are based. As Patrons of the Youth Zone, MoneyPlus do so much for us all year round and, after hearing about holiday hunger and the effects this can have on young people, wanted to do more.”
Over the 6 years that the Youth Zone has been open, there have been several incidents that have made Richard and his team see that offering a holiday club, providing a space for young people to be warm, safe and fed was needed. Richard talks about how “over the holidays, there have been instances where we have watched young people’s weight drop significantly across the duration – in the longer holidays, this could be by as much as a stone.”
The first holiday club at Manchester Youth Zone, funded by UKFast and the Department for Education, took place over the Summer and showed the poverty in the area, and therefore the real need for such clubs to be available free of charge. Richard adds “throughout the Summer holiday club, we had several instances of young people coming in wearing their school uniforms. When asked by staff why this was, it became apparent it was because they were the only clothes they owned.”
This half term, with it being a much colder season, the Youth Zone has addressed this and has made sure that they have a selection of warm clothing, again donated generously by supporters, so that they can make sure all young people coming in to both Holiday Club and their evening sessions, are leaving with appropriate clothing for the weather outside.
Speaking of the support that MoneyPlus gives, Richard adds “We know how important it is that we continue to run our holiday club. To a lot of the young people we have through our doors, its fundamental to making sure they have a warm, safe place and access to hot, nutritious meals. It is through the support and funding from companies such as MoneyPlus we are able to do what we do – without them, it would not be possible.”