Ormskirk Advertiser

£29k Freema­sons grant helps kids us­ing youth club


FIFTY lo­cal chil­dren who are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing child poverty, so­cial iso­la­tion and who have been at risk of “hol­i­day hunger” dur­ing the school hol­i­days are be­ing given the sup­port they need, thanks to a grant of £29,000 from West Lan­cashire Freema­sons to the War­ring­ton Youth Club.

The char­ity runs a Boost Hol­i­day Club which gives of­fers ac­tiv­i­ties and healthy meals over the school hol­i­days. They work in part­ner­ship with lo­cal agen­cies to iden­tify chil­dren who are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing child poverty and at risk of not hav­ing reg­u­lar and ap­pro­pri­ate meals while away from school.

Free places at the club are of­fered dis­creetly to lo­cal fam­i­lies in need and in­cludes re­turn trans­port to the club, a healthy break­fast and lunch, a timetable of ac­tiv­i­ties which pro­mote so­cial skills, health and life skills.

War­ring­ton Youth Club has been sup­port­ing chil­dren and young peo­ple through qual­ity ac­tiv­i­ties since the 1930s. The char­ity was orig­i­nally set up by a group of moth­ers who were con­cerned about their chil­dren get­ting into trou­ble af­ter school.

Based on the ethos of In­spir­ing Young Peo­ple to Achieve, the char­ity has de­vel­oped into the largest youth pro­vi­sion in War­ring­ton, and to­day works with over 2,500 chil­dren and young peo­ple.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est fig­ures, 27 per cent of chil­dren in War­ring­ton are liv­ing in poverty. This rep­re­sents over 13,000 chil­dren and young peo­ple (War­ring­ton Bor­ough Pro­file 2020), who may not be get­ting their ba­sic needs of food, shel­ter and care.

Hol­i­day Hunger is an is­sue which has emerged in re­cent years, high­light­ing the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of chil­dren who are sup­ported dur­ing school time with free school meals, who face the risk of go­ing hun­gry dur­ing school hol­i­days, par­tic­u­larly the six-week sum­mer hol­i­days. The BBC re­port an es­ti­mated three mil­lion chil­dren na­tion­ally at risk of go­ing hun­gry dur­ing the sum­mer break.

The aim of the club’s pro­gramme is to ad­dress the com­pounded dis­ad­van­tage ex­pe­ri­enced by young peo­ple liv­ing in poverty who are un­able to ac­cess de­vel­op­men­tal ac­tiv­i­ties and nu­tri­tious meals dur­ing school hol­i­days.

Fam­i­lies, of­ten left with­out sup­port for the 13 weeks of hol­i­days, strug­gle to meet the ad­di­tional food re­quire­ments, find af­ford­able child­care (one in three chil­dren with a work­ing sin­gle par­ent are liv­ing in poverty) and pro­vide mean­ing­ful sports, arts, so­cial and ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ences af­fect­ing long-term out­comes and per­pet­u­at­ing the cy­cle of poverty.

The grant from West Lan­cashire Freema­sons comes through the Ma­sonic Char­i­ta­ble Foun­da­tion, which is funded by Freema­sons, their fam­i­lies and friends, from across Eng­land and Wales.

Dave McNi­choll, chief ex­ec­u­tive of War­ring­ton Youth Club, said: “We’re ex­tremely grate­ful to West Lan­cashire Freema­sons for their gen­er­ous grant, which is al­low­ing us to sup­port 50 dis­ad­van­taged chil­dren dur­ing the school hol­i­days. It’s also help­ing us pro­vide on­go­ing sup­port for vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren and fam­i­lies.”

Tony Har­ri­son from West Lan­cashire Freema­sons said: “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help lo­cal chil­dren in need by sup­port­ing War­ring­ton Youth Club dur­ing the school hol­i­days.

“It’s es­sen­tial that chil­dren who re­quire free school meals dur­ing term time are not aban­doned dur­ing the hol­i­days, both in terms of food, as well as the ed­u­ca­tional and en­ter­tain­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties that other chil­dren take for granted while they are away from the class­room.”

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 ??  ?? Chief ex­ec­u­tive of War­ring­ton Youth Club Dave McNi­choll (right) ex­plain­ing the fa­cil­i­ties to Tony Har­ri­son, from West Lan­cashire Freema­sons in the Youth Cen­tre play area.
Chief ex­ec­u­tive of War­ring­ton Youth Club Dave McNi­choll (right) ex­plain­ing the fa­cil­i­ties to Tony Har­ri­son, from West Lan­cashire Freema­sons in the Youth Cen­tre play area.
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