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It has been reported that up to three million children across the UK are at risk of holiday hunger. The challenge for low-income families during the school holidays is not just the issue of providing healthy food but also accessing affordable childcare and play provision.

Beating holiday hunger

So when the Martenscroft Nursery wanted to ensure that every child and family member would be guaranteed a meal when they attended their valuable summer play activities, the Manchester Metropolitan University came together with Pelican Procurement Services, Bidfood and Simply Lunch to support them!  The programme of events through July, August and September included gardening, craft workshops and trips to local green spaces.

Ben Collier, Head of Catering, Retail & Hospitality at The Manchester Metropolitan University said: “The University has a strong relationship with Martenscroft Nursery, they provide education for families who live in close proximity to our campus and are a valuable partner on research and student enrichment projects, so we wanted to support them in feeding their local families.”

“I approached our catering team to explore options of how we could support the success of the nursery’s summer programme. Hayden Ludford from Pelican Procurement Services, our catering and supply chain procurement partner, was quick to engage with our suppliers by sourcing and organising food donations and managing all the logistics seamlessly. I would like to also say a big thank you to Bidfood and Simply Lunch who kindly provided free food donations and the University’s catering team for making the food lunch parcels. It was truly a terrific team effort that shows great teamwork and partnership for the greater good.”

“The social value of such projects is hard to measure; but with happy families, a reinforced connection between the University and the community, and the nursery saving funds to reinvest in other important areas, there are many benefits to be counted!”

Hayden Ludford from Pelican says: “I had just started to support the MMU’s catering team in July when we were asked to help source 60 lunches per day, consisting of a sandwich, snack, piece of fruit, orange juice, bottled water and crisps, with vegan options as well. What a great way to get stuck in and be part of a wonderful project that makes a difference to local families. I worked closely with Bidfood and Simply Lunch and in total, we have organised 540 lunches – ensuring everyone is fed and watered on each event day! I was very proud to be part of it.”

Ensuring happy holidays

Debbie Keary, Head of Centres at Martenscroft Nursery School and Children’s Centres, added: “Summer can be a challenging time for some of our families. The children and the parents appear to be really enjoying the activities and the food has had a huge part to play in the success. Some families would not otherwise have a holiday, so these days out are key to helping make the school summer holidays memorable.

I would like to say a huge thank you to the University’s catering team, Pelican Procurement and both suppliers, Simply Lunch and Bidfood for making this happen. We also have had a number of families isolating, therefore doorstep deliveries were arranged too. The food has been very much appreciated by all our families. And what’s more, the donations, have enabled us to use our funds for other key projects that will make a difference to our community.”

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