Reading club helped feed kids’ minds and bodies
HUNDREDS of youngsters enjoyed a summer of reading, exercise and healthy eating at the pioneering Fit, Feed and Read scheme at libraries across Rochdale.
The summer holiday club sees youngsters from some of the borough’s most deprived neighbourhoods dine out every lunchtime at their local library.
This year more than 300 kids packed into Balderstone, Darnhill, Junction, Langley and Smallbridge libraries over the six week holidays.
And youngsters who read six books were awarded specially designed medals and certificates during presentations at library branches.
The vision of the Fit, Feed and Read scheme, which is run in partnership with Link4Life, is to provide children with lunch, a free activity and learning opportunities throughout the school holidays.
Coun Janet Emsley, cabinet member for libraries, said: “I am so pleased to see how many children participated in Fit, Feed and Read this year. We are very proud of the scheme, which pro- motes healthy eating and ensures children are provided with positive activities to enjoy during the school holidays.
“Well done to everyone involved in completing the challenge and underlining that reading matters. It’s another Rochdale libraries success story to be proud of.”
Coun Allen Brett, leader of the council, said: “I was really impressed with Fit, Feed and Read which showcased our libraries at their very best. The scheme is thriving and popular with children and parents across the borough.
“It encourages learning, socialising and healthy eating in fun environment. We have one of the best library services in the country with a committed and dedicated team of staff.
“Thank you to everyone for making the 2018 Fit, Feed and Read the best one yet.”
Last summer the Observer visited Balderstone library during the
Speaking at the time, Coun John Blundell the man behind the idea, told how he hope the scheme would have a ‘really positive impact on the kids and libraries’.
He said: ““It’s heartbreaking, but there are children who lose weight in the summer holidays because they’re not getting lunch,” he said.
“It’s not because their parents don’t love them, it’s just a sign of the times.
“And it’s not just parents who are out of work, it’s those working on zero hour contracts or in unpredictable work.
“But it’s not Oliver Twist, it’s not ‘please sir, can I have some more?’
“It’s a much more positive way of dealing with the problem.”
●●Coun Janet Emsley and children at Smallbridge library during Rochdale council’s Fit, Feed and Read holiday club
●●Rochdale council leader Allen Brett with children on the scheme