Star chef cooks up support for families

Celebrity chef and local restaurateur Tom Kerridge (pictured) has visited the county to see how harder-pressed families are being supported this summer.

At a holiday club being run at Beechwood Academy School in High Wycombe, Tom saw how Buckinghamshire Council’s Holiday Activities and Food clubs operate.

At the holiday club, he saw how the programme was benefiting children and their families and gave a young audience a masterclass in making simple, healthy coleslaw.

Tom said: ‘Kids need healthy meals, and contrary to what people think, cooking tasty meals can be done simply and at low cost.’

Funded by the Government, and run by the ouncil in collaboration with local providers, the programme offers thousands of free summer activity club places, with a healthy meal, to support those families across the county receiving benefits-related free school meals.

Youngsters took the chance to try a wide range of activities from sport, dance and drama to art, cookery and more.

With child food poverty a cause close to Tom’s heart, he was keen to lend support and see a holiday club in action.

After his visit Tom said: ‘It was great to see the kids having fun, getting involved and having something good to eat – including my coleslaw, which went down well with the children.

‘That’s really why I started the Full Time Meals campaign with Marcus Rashford, to give children and families the skills and confidence to cook good, proper food in their own kitchens, using basic ingredients and whatever equipment they have to hand.’

Julie Ward, deputy cabinet member for education and skills, said: ‘It’s a key priority for us to make sure our families have a good foundation of support all year round, and we are so pleased to see that holiday sessions are being well used by eligible families who might otherwise struggle with some of the essentials.

‘This way, local children who are supported during term time with free school meals can get access to healthy food in the summer holidays too and enjoy some brilliant holiday experiences.’

Rob Sherwood, of Get Active Sports, which is running the holiday club at Beechwood, said: ‘The support we have received from Buckinghamshire Council has ensured that every child in the community gets the opportunity to enjoy fun and engaging activities, whilst also helping to educate children on a healthy lifestyle.’