We know there are real social issues in our city of Plymouth, and with an estimated 11,500 children in Plymouth living in poverty, local churches are making a massive difference.
The Plymouth Fairness Commission (1) identified significate deprived areas in Plymouth including Devonport, St Peters and the Waterfront and Ham. It stated if you are born into those areas, you had a one in three chance of being born into a ‘vulnerable’ family and you had a 48% – 60% of being among those 11,500 children living in poverty. Other statistics given in the report show a shocking impact on children’s lives born in areas of deprivation in Plymouth.
Many children get a hot meal at school during term times and for some of these children it is the only hot meal they get, but what happens when they are on holiday and at home, especially when parents cannot afford to feed their children during the long summer holidays? ‘Hope 4 Summer’
After learning about the need within the city, the Churches Together in St Budeaux linked together with Transforming Plymouth Together to arrange an event in each of the churches and in the community centre every week during the summer holidays in 2017.This included fun activities, games, crafts and a free meal for the children and families of the St Budeaux community. They also had the opportunity to learn about ‘healthy eating’ and how to make smoothies, pizza and salad and veg dips.
Volunteers from the Baptist, Methodist, St Budeaux Parish and St Boniface Church worked together in each other’s church to share time and resources and over 550 children and families took part during the summer of 2017.
The following year 26 events, involving over 13 different churches across the city were held and provided over 2000 meals for families and children. Funding was obtained to support the events to give the children and families an opportunity of fun, learning and a good meal. From bouncy castles at Methodists to a spy adventure at the Parish church all participants are promised a great time. ‘Feast of Fun’
For 2019 the events, renamed ‘Feast of Fun’ as a way of incorporating all school holidays, to focus on the community and social aspect of the events not just the provision of food. All of the events are free to attend and open to all, not just those who receive free school meals.
Transforming Plymouth Together are supporting churches from across the city, from a range of different denominations and sizes to host even more events and provide food and fun to more children and families in need.
Receiving funding from National Lottery Community Fund, North Yard Trust, Virginia House Trust, Bellefonte Trust and TPT itself, the capability to support more groups wanting to put on Feast of Fun events is greater. Working with organisations in Plymouth including CaterED to provide meals to those churches without suitable kitchen facilities, these events bring together a sense of community to the whole city.
To find out more about Feast of Fun, please contact Chris Forster (Development Worker – Transforming Plymouth Together) on 07710096210 or Chris@transformingplymouthtogether.org.uk