Lady at the Tesco bags of help

The Active Essex Foundation needs votes to win Tesco funding to help tackle ‘holiday hunger’ hitting hard-up families

The Active Essex Foundation, a new charity which aims to transform deprived communities through sport and physical activity, needs your votes to win a massive cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

The supermarket has teamed up with charity Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, in which grants of £1,000, £2,000 and £4,000 raised from carrier bag sales are awarded to projects which benefit their communities.

The Active Essex Foundation is one of three shortlisted groups in Essex. Shoppers can vote using tokens issued to them after check-out purchases at four selected stores in the county during May and June.

The foundation uses sport and physical activity to inspire hard-to-reach and under-represented communities to become more physically active, lead healthier lives, raise aspirations and confidence, and improve mental health.

The foundation was shortlisted for its partnership work with the Canvey Get Set Youth initiative, in which a dedicated team of young volunteers organise multi-sport activities during school holidays to help engage with youngsters in deprived local areas. Participants develop new skills, learn how to lead a positive and physically active lifestyle, and receive a healthy and nutritious meal.

“Holiday hunger is a real issue faced by too many young people in areas of deprivation across Canvey, where a high percentage are on free school meals,” says Louise Voyce, Development Officer at the Active Essex Foundation.

“Research shows that school holidays are a stressful time for low-income families, for whom finding affordable activities and providing nutritious food every day can be a difficult challenge when schools are closed.

“Through the Canvey Get Set Youth programme, we aim to provide young people living on some of the most deprived estates in Canvey and Castle Point the opportunity to make a difference to their community, giving them a chance to learn new skills, take part in a range of physical activities, learn to care about what happens in their local community – and enjoy a healthy free meal.

“However, we currently only have the capacity to run one-off events during school holidays, and have received several requests to establish full-time holiday programmes. Therefore, we welcome and appreciate any type of support that we might receive.

The four Tesco stores taking part in the scheme in Essex are: Tesco Express, London Road, South Benfleet; Tesco Extra, Hazelmere, Off High Road, Basildon; Tesco Express, London Road, Rayleigh; Tesco Express, Silva Island Way, Wickford.

To find out more about the Active Essex Foundation, visit www.activeessexfoundation.org.