Holiday Activities and Food Programme Case Study: SportsCool Preston & Flyde

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Holiday Activities and Food Programme Case Study: SportsCool Preston & Flyde

Food Active has been offering the Good Food for the Holidays training for HAF providers since the inception of the programme nationally in 2021. The training has been delivered in over 10 localities, to over 600 providers, and aims to upskill staff and volunteers to ensure they offer healthy, nutritious and delicious food that means the required school food standards. Through this case study, we hear from Emma Williams, Managing Director SportsCool Preston & Fylde running HAF on behalf of Fylde Council, to share how attending the training has helped to improve their food offer and deliver enriching food and nutrition activities to children attending their provision in Lancashire.

Introduction

As the Managing Director of SportsCool Preston & Fylde with extensive experience of working as a senior leader in schools across Lancashire. I was passionate about bringing my expertise to support families and ensure that every child could thrive at our holiday clubs. One of my interests as a Senior Leader was the link between achievement and food, as early as 2014 the EEF was reporting the positive impact between food and educational outcomes (Magic Breakfast). SportsCool, since its inception 15 years ago has championed the power of accessible sports education to inspire the next generation, trying to link this with the benefits of healthy nutritional food seemed the obvious next step to support our HAF delivery. The SportsCool model is built on supporting every child, through the power of traditional and non-traditional sport. By offering a wealth of options at our HAF programmes we make sure every child has an option available to them. We focus on keeping our activities enjoyable and educational. We teach the benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle for children’s physical and mental wellbeing. For this HAF period we applied this to our food and nutrition offering.

Opportunity

Having undertaken Food Active’s training around Good Food for the Holiday’s, delivered on behalf of Lancashire County Council, we wanted to focus on food-based activities and improving the choice of food on offer at our venues. We started by using the guidance provided from the training to develop a selection of healthy recipe suggestions and then provided these to each of our venues with a selection of healthy food choices to help children make good choices.

We created a set of activities to help children understand food groups and how food should be portioned. Then we set the food in the relevant sections, carbohydrate, protein, fruit, vegetables etc. This allowed coaches to support the children with the portion sizing and selection from each element. The recipe cards helped the children think about food combinations.

We also replaced small pot yoghurts with tubs of natural yoghurt that children could sweeten themselves with honey, fruit, dried fruit, seeds and nuts (we check allergens on camp first).

Impact

We saw a big reduction in the amount of wasted food as children were able to make choices about what they wanted to eat.  Children ate more and made good choices, some children who had brought packed lunches on day one because they were fussy eaters, supplemented their packed lunch with the fruit offering. The feedback from staff, children, families and schools we worked in was extremely positive. Children eat well and we were able to allow children to put combinations of food together they might not have access to at home.  The whole food part of the HAF day lasted longer and lunch became a collaborative effort, staff were encouraged to sit, each and have talk with the children over the lunch period.

Continuity

We are hoping to partner with a local catering business to ensure we can continue this and scale it at the summers to ensure that we can sustain and build this offering. We are also looking at the feasibility of building in a selection of hot food items over summer to add a greater level of variety.

We will continue to share the food suggestions and menu cards and continue to build this as resource to share with families going forward so hopefully families can introduce some of the healthy suggestions to their family recipes. We tried to think about family budgets in the menu choice and used a mixture of fresh fruits, like strawberries, kiwi etc. But also staples like apples, banana and pear and tinned fruit to show how variety and nutrition can be achieved on a budget. Again, with our vegetable offering, we had things like peppers that can be expensive but we also had carrot and cucumber sticks which can be more affordable.

Advice:
  • Work closely with the schools you are operating HAF with to see if you can access their catering services/facilities.
  • Start small, introduce some element of choice and guidance.
  • Share what you are doing with families.
  • Ensure all staff are on board and understand what you are doing, why you are doing it and how to facilitate it on your camps.

To find out more about Food Active’s HAF training and tools, please click here. Alternatively, to speak to one of the team, please email beth.bradshaw@foodactive.org.uk

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