OVER 100,000 meals are set to be delivered this Easter holiday through a major extension of the new Take & Make recipe box scheme by independent charity, the Mayor’s Fund for London, in partnership with a record number of local authorities.
Taking inspiration from the recipe kit box phenomenon – Hello Fresh and Mindful Chef – and designed in direct response to COVID-19, every Take & Make box contains fresh ingredients and step by step instructions on how to make a healthy vegetarian dish for a family of four, along with important skill training cards and online video tutorials starring young Londoners.
This Easter, local authorities in Bexley, Camden, Greenwich, Haringey, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Southwark, Sutton and Westminster have all arranged for Take & Make boxes to be distributed in their borough by local community groups for families to take home and cook with their children.
Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive, Mayor’s Fund for London, said:
“It is scandalous that children and families are still struggling to access good healthy food. I’m therefore delighted that our Take & Make boxes are being rolled out across London in partnership with so many local authorities. As the pandemic continues, the need for all children to be able to access high quality cooked food remains imperative and one we will not ignore until the issues are solved at national level.”
Councillor Matt Morrow, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Greenwich, said:
“I am delighted that we are offering these fantastic Take & Make boxes this Easter. We know that times are really tough for a lot of families in our borough, and we are committed to helping where we can. These boxes will go some way to alleviating the pressure that some parents feel when school is out. It is a fantastic way to encourage young people into the kitchen to cook with their families, and I can’t wait to see what they rustle up.”
In 2019, the Greater London Authority estimated that 400,000 children aged 16 or under were in food insecurity. This figure is likely to be far higher because of rising unemployment and loss of self-employment income as a result of the pandemic. Of this, roughly half do not qualify for free school meals or other government support.
Since 2017, the Mayor’s Fund for London Kitchen Social programme has been the biggest provider of food and activities to young Londoners at risk of food insecurity outside of term time. Since the beginning of COVID-19 within its own food provision network and alongside other surplus food charities, the charity has been coordinating emergency relief efforts.
In 2020 alone, the programme delivered close to 360,000 meals for approx. 23,000 children. The Take & Make mechanism further maximises support to children, young people, and their families who are at risk of food insecurity, including those without free school meals eligibility – particularly when children are outside of school during either school holidays or further lockdown scenarios. The initiative can be deployed rapidly across Greater London.
The Mayor’s Fund for London will continue to support local authorities to understand and build capacity to run provision in their own boroughs, based on learnings from the Kitchen Social programme and calls for an extension of free school meal eligibility and the introduction of funded holiday provision across the UK.