Prince Harry visits Newham project tackling holiday hunger and helping get young people active

28 July 2017 in Health and Sport and leisure and Young people
The session run by Newham Council’s leisure trust activeNewham is part of the national Fit and Fed initiative that will engage 12,000 young people across the country this summer.​​​
​Prince Harry and Sir Robin Wales dish up some food for youngsters
​London, 28 July 2017: Today, Prince Harry surprised youngsters in Newham when he dropped into a summer holiday activity session in East Ham, run by Newham Council’s leisure trust activeNewham and its partner organisation Fight for Peace. The initiative forms part of the national StreetGames Fit and Fed campaign which aims to provide children and young people from the borough and other deprived areas in the country with free access to activity sessions, with lunch included, throughout the summer holidays.
Prince Harry talking to some Newham volunteers

Prince Harry joined some of the activities taking place around Central Park, including football, tennis, cricket and other multi-sport activities and learned more about the project from the coaches delivering the sessions. His Royal Highness also met Fit and Fed volunteers serving lunch, before hearing from the children and young people about their experiences of the initiative.

The project engages children and young people aged between five and 14 in a range of sports and activities. Funded by The Summer Give – an online match funding campaign by Big Give and the Childhood Trust -  and supported by Newham Council, activeNewham plans to deliver 15 sessions in Central Park throughout the summer, with an average of 60 children from the local community attending each day. The lunches, which are delivered to the park each day, are being sourced by FareShare through a national partnership with StreetGames.

Launched in July 2017 and funded by The Coca-Cola Foundation, Fit and Fed is a response to the pressing issues of holiday hunger, isolation, and inactivity that many children across the UK experience during the school holidays. Research has shown 60 per cent of families with an annual income of £25,000 cannot always afford food during the holidays, and families on less than £15,000 report a constant struggle. Fit and Fed, which brings together community organisations from the StreetGames, Ambition and Sported networks, will operate in 100 disadvantaged neighbourhoods across the country this summer, and it aims to engage 12,000 children and young people in 2017.

Jane Ashworth CEO of StreetGames said “We were delighted to welcome Prince Harry to see the great work being done in Newham as part of our Fit and Fed initiative. The project is tackling very real issues facing young people in Newham and other deprived areas this summer: holiday hunger, inactivity and isolation. Parents in the poorest communities all over the country face tough choices every school holiday - having to work to earn money, to feed their kids and make sure they’re looked after. We hope that Fit and Fed sessions, led by great projects like this one by activeNewham, will help thousands of families nationwide this summer.”

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said “It was fantastic to be able to welcome Prince Harry to Newham and show him the great work taking place to help our young people lead healthy and active lives.

“Newham is among the country’s most deprived areas and the Fit and Fed campaign mirrors our commitment to encourage and help young people not just to get active but to also have a nutritious meal.

“Working with our schools we have been delivering free school meals in our borough since 2009. This has not only helped enhance the educational performance and health of our young people but has also given parents peace of mind their child is getting a healthy meal. However, it is not just during term time we need to provide this support which is why schemes like Fit and Fed are also very important to our communities.”

Families across the UK are struggling financially, and this is often hardest in the school holidays when the families’ food bill can increase £30-£40. The lowest income households are already the most likely to have the least active children, spending less than £2 per week on sport. Research from Kellogg’s shows 73% of the poorest families report a constant struggle to feed their children in the summer holidays, and inflation is pushing the price of food up even further. While their more affluent peers are on holiday or at activity camps, children from poorer households are inactive, isolated, and eat badly, fuelling health and educational inequalities.