High praise for launch of Active Tameside’s Fuel 4 Fun initiative
Fuel 4 Fun, an initiative aimed at tackling food poverty and social inequalities for thousands of young people and their families across Tameside, has been hailed a resounding success following its launch in the Easter holidays.
In partnership with Tameside Council and the Department of Education, our Fuel 4 Fun programme provided 1,735 free holiday camp places to young people aged five to 13 in receipt of free school meals and the under 18 SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) population.
This included 873 places at Active Copley, Active Medlock and the Tameside Wellness Centre, in Denton; 114 places provided to children with complex needs and disabilities; 690 places at partner schools and 172 places at community clubs including Curzon Ashton Football Club and East Cheshire Harriers & Tameside Athletic Club which signed up to the Fuel 4 Fun Activity Camp scheme through their affiliation with the Active Tameside Sports and Physical Activity Network.
The initial roll out of the 12-month programme received fantastic feedback from many of the young people involved, as well as parents and the schools, community groups and sports clubs which are helping to deliver the scheme.
Hayley Simpson from East Cheshire Harriers said: “Athletes have missed around three months of training due to restrictions, therefore this camp came at a brilliant time allowing them to catch up with missed activities.
“Young people were able to socialise with athletes they have not met before, creating new friendships, at the same time as experiencing a range of activities they have not all explored.
“As a club we have benefited as now we have athletes who are willing to try new activities and also the funds have allowed us to purchase new equipment.”
Comments from some of the children who took part at Curzon Ashton FC and East Cheshire Harriers & Tameside Athletic Club:
“I had a fun week and tried lots of new football games. My favourite food was cheesy pasta bake and I learnt a lot from my coach Sam.” (Tinashe aged nine)
“I’ve made some new friends and I loved going on the bikes at the race track. My favourite food was chilli and rice. I also won a medal for player of the day.” (Tommy aged six)
As well as enjoying a wide range of range activities including sport, dance, nature trails, cooking, cycling, arts and crafts and swimming, 774 family food boxes were handed out over the nine-day holiday period containing ingredients for a healthy family meal.
Along with recipe cards, there was also the opportunity to tune into video tutorials via Active Tameside’s social media channels with staff from our Community Cafes showing them how to prepare the meals.
The children also received an activity bag containing sports equipment and activity ideas they can do at home. A total of 730 bags were handed out over the school break.
Sam Malloy from Denton Community College said:
“The activity bags and food boxes provided were a great success and gratefully accepted; engaging the children to make meals for their family.
“Each day the children would tell us what they had made and proudly showed off their pictures.
Feedback from the parents I spoke to was brilliant. All the young people had a fab time, made new friends and went home absolutely exhausted. Successful camp all round I’d say!”
Among the feedback from parents, one said: “My son had a ball and loved it! He even went an extra day. If there is an option for him to go again in another school holiday he would love to! The food hampers were great too! He was so happy the second week they went swimming. They brought stuff they had made home most days and got a bag of goodies and there were spares so his brother got one too! Was fab I’d highly recommend!”
Another parent commented: “Week 2 and another brilliant food box. These meal ideas have doubled my usual teatime menu repertoire. I’ll be reusing these recipes time and again in the future. Sophie is ecstatic that she could use the swimming pool at Copley during holiday club this week!”
On top of helping to break down barriers to access sports and physical activities, children are also encouraged to develop life skills such gardening on the trust’s Community Allotments and cooking their own healthy lunches.
Alongside the huge social impact Fuel 4 Fun is set to have on young people and their families, it also gives Adult Day Service clients from our Everybody Can programme – which provides services and provision for children and adults with additional needs and disabilities – the opportunity to gain valuable life skills through volunteering roles.
Over the Easter holidays the scheme generated 225 volunteer hours which saw a number of service users helping to package and deliver the Fuel 4 Fun family food boxes containing ingredients from the allotments and donations from FareShare and local supermarkets.
In addition, over 20 16-18 year olds are being recruited as casual sports coaches from colleges across Tameside as well as those identified as not in education, employment or training (NEET).
Everybody Can programme manager Dan Higgins, who is helping to oversee the Fuel 4 Fun programme, said: “Fuel 4 Fun is a fantastic initiative that allows us, along with our key stakeholders within the local authority to support young people using sport and physical activity as an engagement tool whilst educating them around healthy eating.
“The Easter half term proved a fantastic success with the number of families that benefited from the scheme, allowing for us to have such a significant positive impact on people’s lives – this is the reason I work in this industry – to put smiles on people’s faces and to really make a difference.
“A lot of learning was conducted during Easter and we have developed plans to reach even more families moving forward.
“I have mentioned previously how the last year has been difficult for everyone. This scheme really does allow us to support the people of Tameside and permits us to build back better using these community services.”
Lorraine Hopkins, Tameside Council’s Head of Service – Early Help, Neighbourhoods and Early Years, said: “This has been a great success with 1,735 children and young people attending across the borough in activities during the Easter break and receiving Fuel 4 Fun activity and food packs.
“Feedback has been amazing from children, young people and their families that have shared how they have really enjoyed the opportunity to access activities they haven’t before – allotments, cycling etc – and are also now planning meals they wouldn’t have before, so making healthier lifestyle changes.
“We are now building upon this and developing a wider partnership offer across Tameside for summer and Christmas.”