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12 Sep

How we helped reduce #HolidayHunger in Leeds

Its late July, school summer holidays are upon us, kids are excited, and parents are thinking what now? They’ve read ’21 ways to keep the kids entertained this summer holiday’, ‘How to avoid, I’m bored now’ and ‘100 suggestions of fun things to do across your city’. They worry they won’t be able to keep up, keep them entertained for long enough and what the kids are going to write in their ‘What I did during my summer holiday’ back-to-school booklet. There’s a lot of planning to be done and not much time left to do it.

But for some, summer holiday activities are an out of reach luxury and worries centre more around putting food on a plate, a warm bed and clean clothes.

Did you know that 30,000 children in Leeds go hungry during school holidays? The impact of this is that children are malnourished, return to school fatigued and do not perform well academically, not to mention the effect this has on their mental wellbeing and their happiness.

We think this needs to change.

So, this August, armed with a basket of packed lunches and four Kwik Cricket sets, we made our way to three parks across Leeds, with the aim of reducing #HolidayHunger across our city.

What is Crick-Eat?

Over August, the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF) successfully contributed to combating #HolidayHunger by giving away 155 meals to over 70 children across Leeds in our brand-new initiative: Crick-Eat.

Delivered across three weeks, for 3 hours per day, we used a Pop-Up Cricket style format as a hook to engage with children.
The sessions, delivered by YCF partners Pro Coach, provided an opportunity to take part in Cricket, as all the equipment was up and ready and children in the park could play for 2 minutes or 2 hours, it was entirely up to them.

It was completely free to take part and a great way to introduce the game to those who might not normally get the opportunity to play cricket or have never even picked up a bat and ball. Any child who took part in the cricket was then provided with a packed lunch, to either eat at the park or take home with them and if any fruit was left over, it was handed out to other children not taking part.

Locations included Banstead Park, Norma Hutchinson Park and East End Park.

The YCF received funding through Leeds Community Foundation to run our own #HolidayHunger programme in areas in Leeds highlighted as deprived. The packed lunches were provided by Fuel for School and varied each day, including food like wraps, sandwiches, cheese, fruit, crisps, yogurts, biscuits, cereal bars, juice and water.

“It’s great that funding became available to run a holiday hunger programme over the summer. With so many children in Leeds going hungry over the holidays, it was important for us to run a project that made a real difference within the community. We knew that it wasn’t going to be straight forward, with a couple of minor problems along the way, however we feel like we have made a big difference to those we engaged with, creating a positive association with Yorkshire Cricket and hard to reach communities.” Beth Cook, Health and Wellbeing Manager, Yorkshire Cricket Foundation.

The YCF strive to be a charity that makes a lasting, positive impact on the lives of those living in Yorkshire. We use the Yorkshire Cricket brand and cricket as the hook to reach out to a range of different communities.

“Throughout the Crick-Eat sessions, we saw children’s attitudes towards us change, we began to develop a connection with them and a sense of respect and trust, which was great to see. A parent of two children attending told us how she thought the project was fantastic, not just because of the cricket or lunch, but because we went out into the heart of the community and gave her children something to aspire to in terms of getting a career.” -Jess Bunn, Health & Wellbeing Project Officer, Yorkshire Cricket Foundation.

The sessions provided more than an opportunity to play cricket and a lunch, they proved to bring about social cohesion and respect between different community groups. Whatsmore, three children that attended Crick-Eat, who demonstrated a real love for the game, were given a cricket bat and ball each so they could continue playing after sessions finished.

To find out more about the project or our other Health & Wellbeing work, contact Beth.Cook@yorkshirecricketfoundation.com

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