September 2018: News From The Mayor
We're acting to put an end to holiday hunger
I’m sure most of us are ready for a well-earned summer break, hopefully making the most of the weather and Bristol’s busy cultural calendar. In particular College Green was a great place for family fun with games and activates when we hosted the 16th annual Playday at the start of August. The green space outside City Hall and Bristol Cathedral was alive with the sounds of play and excitement as the biggest free play event of the summer saw hundreds of excited families join in.
This year’s event also featured the unveiling of the new Bristol Children’s Charter. The Charter, a set of ten pledges that align with the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, sets out the city’s aspirations for all children without discrimination.
The Playday’s central themes was ‘Every Child’s Right to Play’, highlighting the importance play has on the lives of all children and families, but we know that for some families filling their days with activities can be a challenge. Even more concerning is the critical need to address the issue of ‘holiday hunger’.
Many of our children in Bristol receive a free school meal Monday to Friday during term time, but there is currently no such provision over holidays, meaning that our children and young people are at risk of holiday hunger.
My Cabinet Lead for Education Cllr Anna Keen has been leading on work which attempts to address this is through holiday clubs. ‘Feeding Bristol’ is a collaborative charity striving for a city where no-one goes hungry. It works on a range of projects, from cooking and nutrition, to growing local food and even raising awareness towards key political issues surrounding food poverty.
There are a number of initiatives happening across Bristol to provide free activities for children and we have ensured that food is provided as part of this offer. These include Fit and Fed, which operates in parks across Bristol, Unique Voice, who run creative courses over the summer, and Break Free, a programme run by Youth Moves in secondary schools across South Bristol, which reaches some of our most deprived communities.