Oasis leads post-lockdown family recovery with Summer Sessions and free meals
This summer, a national community-building and education charity will be hosting a nationwide recovery programme of holiday activities for post-lockdown children and families.
Oasis, which runs 52 academies around England, is delivering Covid-19 compliant ‘Summer Sessions’ to help children from the lowest income families improve their mental health through social contact, physical and creative activities, and free meals.
Summer Sessions will run in Birmingham, Bristol, Croydon, Coulsdon, Grimsby, London, Manchester, Oldham, Salford, Scunthorpe, Sheffield, Southampton and Worcester.
In one of its locations, Waterloo in South London, Oasis has formed a partnership with the Park Plaza Hotel – the largest hotel in London, which looks straight across the Thames at the Palace of Westminster and Parliament.
Rev Steve Chalke, Founder of Oasis, said; “We’ll be cooking, serving and delivering meals each day from the kitchens of the hotel.”
“Although the Government’s decision to continue with Free School Meal vouchers throughout the summer in response to footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign, was very welcome, it doesn’t get the whole job done. Children facing food poverty now number at least 3 million – almost three times the number who qualify for Free School Meals. That’s why emergency food will be a key part of our provision.”
“Since mid-March, children and young people have had a hugely disrupted education, now they face another six weeks away from their friends and teachers and all the clubs and activities that schools normally provide,” says Chalke.
“Our aim is to help these young people and their families begin to enjoy much-needed social life and fun activities again. Many have been experiencing poor mental health and wellbeing, but as we all adjust to the new normal, we recognise the pressure and challenge for schools, local authorities and other agencies to provide enough support to the people who most need it. It’s an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ moment and we’re delighted to be able to respond in this way.”
Emergency Food Provision and More
Oasis’ education and community teams have been busy developing activities that can be run safely in Covid-19 conditions, including family sport and fitness, outdoor youth drama, scavenger hunts, socially distanced film events, informal learning, farm therapy, and art and crafts.
Many places will also offer a free daily lunch or weekly meal boxes as families continue to struggle to make ends meet. Figures from the Food Foundation charity suggest food insecurity in households with children has doubled during lockdown. The need for emergency food provision is still acute.
Last year, through its highly successful Plate Up campaign, Oasis ran summer Holiday Hunger clubs serving up 34,000 free lunches to children, many of whose families were reliant on free school meals. Post lockdown, the charity has grown the model for this year’s Summer Sessions to meet rising demand.
Oasis UK will be running socially distanced Summer Sessions in 22 locations across the country in August, reaching thousands of children nationwide. See www.oasisuk.org/summer.