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04 October 2017

Portadown Gets Active To End Holiday Hunger

The Portadown Gets Active scheme is aimed at tackling the problem of holiday hunger.

There are over 100,000 children in Northern Ireland receiving free school meals during term time, but evidence suggests many low income families are struggling to feed their children during school holidays.

Children in Northern Ireland ran a summer scheme to support local children in Portadown delivered in partnership with the community and voluntary sector, statutory agencies, local schools and local government with additional support from Craigavon based Almac Group.

This new and unique initiative was aimed at offering children a fun and active holiday programme, which not only provides a free nutritious breakfast and lunch but also gives children the opportunity to gain an OCN qualification in Healthy Living.

Pauline Leeson, Chief Executive of Children in Northern Ireland, said: “It is incredibly sad that in this day and age we still have families struggling to provide enough food for their children. Not only is food poverty detrimental to children’s health, it also has serious implications for their educational future. Which is why our project is so unique in its approach and why it has been a huge success by improving many outcomes for children.”

Some of the improved outcomes from this project include:

Improved mental health and wellbeing for young people
Improved nutrition during school holidays
Improved educational achievement and no loss of educational memory
Increased confidence and skills
Reduced poor health through nutrition and exercise
Improved employment prospects and progression (OCN qualification)
Higher levels of social interaction and participation
Increased confidence, health and wellbeing.

Speaking about the scheme, Kevin Reid, VP Corporate Marketing, Almac Group, stated “Portadown Gets Active is a fantastic project which we were delighted to support. The kids who participated over the summer have developed a range of valuable skills and knowledge about nutrition, health and wellbeing whilst making friends and, most of all, having fun in the process. Congratulations to the team of volunteers who helped make the programme such a success.”

The Portadown Gets Active project will be running throughout the year during school holiday times summer, Halloween, Christmas and Easter.

The project in Portadown is a partnership between Oasis Youth Portadown, Children & Young People’s Strategic Partnership, Pathways Activities and Presentation Primary School with additional support from the Public Health Agency, food supplier Brakes UK and the Almac Group.

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