Since 2019 Active Essex and Active Essex Foundation have taken the lead on combatting food poverty in Essex. Research shows that families are more likely to engage with a holiday hunger programme if it is part of a wider project hence why are projects offer the opportunity for physical activity, social interaction and a healthy nutritious meal.

Read the 2019 Holiday Hunger Evaluation here


February Half Term 

This February Half Term Active Essex want to ensure that children and families on Free School Meals across Essex can still access support despite being in a lockdown. We have teamed up with local Delivery Partners and are supported by Essex County Council, to provide FREE activity & family weekly meal packs that you can collect from locations near you. These packs will include a host of fun activity ideas, essential food items for your family, family meal kit and a packed virtual timetable.

Click here to view our FREE packs

The Keep Essex Active Youtube Channel have created a half term takeover to provide a packed virtual timetable for everyone to enjoy. This includes workouts, wellbeing sessions and cooking and nutritional education. Please see our action packed timetable below and  Head to our channel here  

We are working with a range of referral partners including, schools, local Cllrs, CVS teams, CCG teams and Essex Child and Family wellbeing service to ensure that we can reach young people most in need over the February half term holiday.

Please click here to download the full list February half term Holiday activity clubs.


Christmas School Holidays

We are pleased to have worked with our network of locally trusted organisations in order to develop over 40 holiday hunger programmes which will take place across Essex during the Christmas school holidays. Active Essex have secured funding from Essex County Council in addition to the funding that has previously been secured through the National Lottery emergency fund for this work. Each project will provide free fun physical activity, a free lunch and every child will have a food hamper to take home with them at the end of their attendance. We are working with a range of referral partners including, schools, local Cllrs, CVS teams, CCG teams and Essex Child and Family wellbeing service to ensure that we can reach young people most in need over the Christmas holiday.

Please click here to download the full list Christmas Holiday Hunger clubs.


Holiday Hunger 2020

In August 2020 Active Essex Foundation secured £88,000 from the National Lottery Emergency Fund to work with community partners to deliver holiday hunger programmes during half term, Christmas holidays and February half term. In addition to this ECC also allocated £72,000 of the DEFRA local authority emergency funding to support the October half term holiday hunger programmes.

This funding is being used to support 33 projects over the next 6 months and with an estimated to reach of over 1500 families in Essex most affected by food insecurity at this time.

All projects are led by locally trusted organisations and many projects have a consortium of partners working together (Charities, voluntary groups. Schools, Local authority teams, leisure centres, faith groups etc…).

These organisations are locally based and understand the local need, have trusted relationships with those who will be supported through the programme and so are able to target the support to those most in need, they also link in with local schools, foodbanks, local authority teams, Essex child and family wellbeing service to ensure they can reach those most in need.

All holiday hunger programmes are delivered differently depending on the local needs, but in general they are a fun physical activity session, for young people (and in some cases the parents) and a nutritious meal is provided. Some projects also provide home ingredient and recipe bags.

Using a targeted approach means these programmes are not advertised, but work with locally trusted organisations and voluntary groups to target those most in need.

ECC and Active Essex are working with the network of locally trusted organisations in order to look at how we can provide further support and secure funding over the next 6 months and further extend the holiday hunger programme, in terms of face to face delivery but also by providing food hampers for the whole family with the aim to support even families most at risk of experiencing food insecurity.


Covid 19

Normal delivery of our projects has had to be altered to fit in with Covid regulations to ensure Covid secure venues and delivery:

Projects would engage an increased number of young people and many parents would join them to cook and eat together however because of the current Covid restrictions partners are delivering in smaller covid secure bubbles of 15 (the government out of schools settings states we can run activities for young people in bubbles of 15).

Provision of a hot meal has in the past been one of the big positives for the families engaged but because of restrictions most projects will be offering a packed lunch or healthy cold meal alternative to ensure they remain Covid secure.