Scheme to keep Herts kids fit and fed in the school hols

Children taking part in the Fit, Fed and Read pilot scheme
Children taking part in the Fit, Fed and Read pilot scheme

A holiday scheme to ensure disadvantaged children are kept fit and fed has been such a success, it’s set to be rolled out across Herts this summer.

Over the Easter holidays, the Herts Sports and Physical Activity Partnership (HSP), based at the University of Hertfordshire, piloted its Fit, Fed and Read programme at Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield Fire Stations.

Fit and Fed is a national StreetGames initiative which seeks to counter the triple inequalities of holiday hunger, inactivity and social isolation among disadvantaged children aged eight to 11.

The Herts programme, called Fit, Fed and Read, focuses on healthy eating, sport and physical activity and improved literacy.

Youngsters attending the programme were treated to a nutritious hot meal, provided by school meals supplier Hertfordshire Catering Ltd (HCL), along with sessions about healthy eating choices.

They also enjoyed a range of physical activity programmes and fun literacy sessions, including Horrible Histories, co-ordinated by Herts Libraries.

The programme, which is the brainchild of HSP deputy director Jane Shewring and Herts Fire and Rescue Service area commander Steve Holton, has been a huge success, with positive feedback from both the participants and their parents and carers.

Running the programmes at local fire stations, with the involvement of fire service personnel, has been a huge boost to the scheme as they provide safe indoor and outdoor activity spaces, as well as respected role models. Some of the firefighters also got involved, including reading to the youngsters and organising physical activity sessions.

Jane Shewring said: “The success of this programme has been such, we are now making plans to roll out the programme across Hertfordshire over the summer holidays.”