Disadvantaged children are being given the opportunity to experience new sporting opportunities, and to learn about the benefit of a healthier, balanced diet, thanks to a community partnership between Saracens Sport Foundation and Burton’s Biscuit Co.
There are numerous barriers to participating in sport, mainly due to income deprivation. For instance, around 13.1% of homes across Barnet, the London district in which the Saracen’s Allianz Park is based, are classified below the poverty line limiting access to both nutritious food and sporting activities.
Additionally, a recent study also showed that one in three young people on Free School Meals (where families earn less than £16,192 or are on benefits or credits) will experience hunger during holiday periods, as they don’t have access to breakfast and lunch.
Feeding Futures aims to provide a high-quality sport and education provision for young people aged 10-12.
The programme works proactively to provide young people from deprived areas opportunities which they may otherwise struggle to access. Using this approach, the programme aims to prevent the educational and developmental decline which is inherent to a prolonged holiday period.
The programme is focused around three main areas:
- Increasing physical activity levels during the school holidays
- Providing a day of nutritious food for those who are living on the poverty line
- Giving those who are from deprived areas the opportunity to experience something new through excursions.
Combining physical activity sessions, educational workshops along with a paid for nutritious hot meal, each of the week-long Feeding Futures programmes looks to engage with 50 participants aged between 10 and 12.
All of the eligible participants will be on free school meals and are on the pupil premium register and will be selected from schools in the locality of the stadium in Barnet.
Each week-long programme will include 3 days of high-quality sports sessions, along with educational workshops on various life skills topics and an excursion.
Welcoming Burton’s as a project partner, Head of Foundation, Kieran Crombie, said: “Holiday hunger is a big issue that as many as three million young people are facing in the UK.
“It’s incredible that we can get the support of an amazing company like Burton’s Biscuits to deliver holiday programmes for those most in need.
“We will be providing breakfast, lunch and loads of sport and learning activities to young people who are eligible for free school meals.
“By doing this, we hope to reduce the number of young people who are experiencing hunger in their holiday, instead giving them enjoyable and fun activities where they can learn and grow.”
Kate Needham, Burton’s Biscuit Co.’s Marketing Director said: “We’re delighted to be involved with a grass roots initiative which is improving the lives of disadvantaged children. As part of the programme, we’ll be focusing on the benefits of a healthier, more balanced diet and the role it can play it can play young people’s active lifestyles.
“We are really passionate about programmes such as this which enable us to connect with and enthuse children in a positive, engaging environment where they can learn and have fun at the same time.
“Burton’s have led the biscuit category agenda by ensuring that all our Maryland Cookies and Jammie Dodgers portion packs are all 100 calories or less and we continue to focus on delivering a future pipeline of healthier sweet treats.
“We are committed to providing healthier snacking solutions so that our consumers can make informed choices about snacking in the context of a healthy balanced diet and an active lifestyle.
“On a bigger scale, the combination of physical activity, educational workshops and provision of nutritious food shows how sport can be used to address social issues, improve mental wellbeing and make a real difference to the lives of young people.”
Burton’s staff will also get the opportunity to play an active role in the programme by volunteering and taking part in activities on and off the pitch.