Bridgwater school supports families in need during summer holidays with support from HPC Community Fund grant
Last summer a school in Bridgwater made a significant difference to pupils and their families during the summer holidays. With three million children in the UK at risk of going hungry during the school holidays every year, ‘Holiday Hunger’ is a reality for many families. This year, the holidays will add even more pressure to an already difficult situation.
Somerset Bridge Primary School, in Bridgwater, received a grant of £1,652 from the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund, administered by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), in 2019. The project’s aim was to combat ‘Holiday Hunger’ and support families by delivering a summer activity programme involving sports, healthy eating and crafts, providing activities and experiences the children would not otherwise have been able to access.
Friends of Somerset Bridge PTA works closely with the pastoral team at the school, raising funds to support pupils’ families, and assisting the pastoral team in providing extra services such as ‘Magic Breakfast’ and issuing vouchers for the foodbank. Shane Stevens, Chair and Trustee at Friends of Somerset Bridge PTA explains:
“The HPC Community Fund grant last year allowed the school to put on activities that helped the children develop strong relationships with members of staff, and positive relationships were also formed between the school and the pupils’ families. It gave the children a summer story to tell their friends about when they returned, and helped build their confidence.”
Shane continues: “The summer club provided breakfast and lunch alongside fun, interactive and educational activities including crafts and Forest School sessions, all for free. The children took part in the cooking of meals and learnt about nutrition and healthy eating.”
However, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, this year will look very different and the pressure on many families will only be magnified, compared to previous years. In March of this year, as the country went into lockdown, the number of families that relied on foodbanks more than doubled, with many foodbanks reporting a three-fold increase in demand. With schools now breaking up for summer, many of the children who would normally be at risk of holiday hunger may well already have received help from a foodbank, due to the current crisis.
Shane adds that this year, due to the pandemic, they are unable to run the summer club, although they are hoping the situation will allow them to run the club as usual in 2021.
The HPC Community Fund’s Small Grants Programme awards grants of up to £5,000, or up to £10,000 over three years for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises that normally operate on less than £100,000 per year. It is an ongoing programme with decisions made every 6-8 weeks. To be considered for a grant at the next award meeting applications must be submitted by Friday 14 August. The next deadline following this will be Friday 25 September. To find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please visit Somerset Community Foundation: www.hpcfunds.co.uk or call them on: 01749 344949.
The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.
SCF is passionate about doing as much as possible to support our communities, and is encouraging local people, businesses, charitable trusts and organisations who feel able to donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal by visiting the SCF website: www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal