The Mayor’s Fund for London has today announced that its flagship holiday food programme, Kitchen Social, has delivered close to 1.1m meals, but warns that this figure could skyrocket during the summer break. Over 110 community clubs around the capital have received small grants for good food and holiday activities, aimed at the estimated 400,000 children and young people in London who are most at risk of food insecurity.

In addition to the community clubs, the Mayor’s Fund has provided almost 145,000 family ‘Take & Make’ recipe boxes to local authorities and schools. These boxes contain ingredients for four to six portions of nutritious food, alongside recipe cards and online video tutorials. Aside from addressing immediate food challenges, they provide families with an opportunity to cook together in a fun and sociable way.

Unfortunately, the lasting impact of Covid-19 on low-income families, the rise in food and energy prices and the resulting inadequate response from Government, means the charity is seeing an ongoing surge in demand for its services. Kitchen Social is run on an inclusive basis, during every school holiday, with no child in need required to prove their free school meals eligibility.

As the cost of living crisis deepens, an increasing number of families, schools and community groups have directly contacted the Mayor’s Fund to ask for support with access to food, and with budgets stretched to the maximum, community partners and local authorises have reached out for help with meeting community need as more and more families are affected:

“We have families choosing between paying for heating/electric or putting money on their Oyster cards and bringing their children to school,

programmes like these and the Take & Make meals really help some of our families and take the pressure off them.”

“We have children coming in daily having sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The numbers are raising every day.”

“We provide free breakfast and hot lunches, but our children are regularly hungry and talk about empty kitchens.”

Commenting on the delivery milestone, Jade Harris, the Head of Food and Wellbeing at the Mayor’s Fund for London said:

“In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need programmes like Kitchen Social, however year on year we are seeing a growing need for more community hubs, activities, and meals, both during term time and school holidays. We’re deeply grateful for the support from so many independent funders, corporate supporters and individual donors. Without their help, a lot of young people would have missed out on access to life’s most basic needs.”

To ensure that no child misses out, the Mayor’s Fund for London is taking part in the Big Give Champions for Children campaign starting today, to raise vital funds for its programmes. Starting midday 14 June until midday 21 June, all donations made via this page will be doubled.

Kitchen Social has had a wide range of supporters, including ASOS, BBC Children in Need, Benugo Restaurants, Berkeley Foundation, BGC Partners, Bloomberg, Caravan Restaurants, Department for Education, Dulwich College, Julia & Hans Rausing Foundation , Rothschild Foundation, Texel Foundation, The Childhood Trust, The National Lottery Community Fund, The Ned, Thomas Franks Foundation, Wahaca Restaurants and the Westminster Foundation.