Case study - Tackling 'Holiday Hunger' in our local community
After being shocked at the plight of 'Holiday Hunger', that is the loss of school meals during prolonged school breaks, which I had learnt about through a contact at Business in the Community, I was driven to provide an immediate local solution this summer for children whom the school lunch is often the only meal of the day.
I chose an area well known to me, Halewood and set out to host an even that would deliver the critical need of meals, but through a sensitive and subtle approach which respected the proud local community. Free fun with family and friends was the 'offer on the table', with meals and wider learning a bit of a side show!
12 companies pledged £600 each to fund the 5-week programme
A public house offered access to electricity supply and washroom facilities free of charge
An entertainment business donated the use of a bouncy castle and wider craft activities
A security business provided staff to host and manage the event
This support totalled £8,000 from cash donations, facility provision & staffing
Healthy meals - 1,100 lunch and/or dinners were provided on site and a further 500 takeaway meals for siblings not attending
Community cohesion - The bouncy castle proved to be a key attraction with children coming back time and again, often with siblings and friends. The word spread quickly!
Family time - Increasingly parents attended alongside their children, creating quality family time in an open green space, free of charge, we were fortunate with the summer weather! Adults accounted for approximately 20% of meals provided
Caring society - The programme centred around enjoyment and nourishment, however I wanted it to reach further in its impact and the families were encouraged to adopt good manners in their interactions with others, good hygiene before and after meals, environmental awareness by recycling and taking pride in the outdoor area and the internal provisions.
All businesses involved pledged future support for similar events and to 'spread the word' in their business networks.
High advocacy rates had created a 'buzz' in the local community, a great platform for change!
Children were returning to school, more nourished than previously, supporting their enthusiasm and ability to learn.
Business in the Community are recognised as the leading model for 'Responsible Business' and shaping how businesses work together to tackle some of the key issues in society. Their design is focussed on 5 pillars; Education, Employment, Enterprise, Employees and Environment.
This was a small-scale event on BITC terms, but I can see how the outputs to certain BITC measures highlight the positive impact created
1. Education - Learning was broad, including; good hygiene, communication skills, the benefits of outside play, nourishment and importantly, the wider society as a caring one.
2. Environment - The programme harnessed the benefits of family outdoor play in green space, it encouraged responsible use and disposal of materials and the need to respect the environment.
3. Enterprise - Businesses who supported saw the direct benefit of contributions and with commitment going forwards they will grow their understanding of CSR, helping shape their own business models in a way which is relevant to society’s needs.
Whilst this was an enjoyable event that delivered a lot, I have also learnt from it. A food partner would add huge value for instance. I am now looking to develop this programme, extending its offer of simple food to attractive, healthy options, the provision of healthcare products and wider community events. If you are interested in coming on board then please get in touch.
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