How children have been learning about food in Portsmouth over the summer 

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FOOD has taken centre stage for several youngsters during the summer holidays.  

Portsmouth City Council has run six schemes from adventure playgrounds throughout the summer to educate students on healthy eating and to provide food.

Children enjoy a healthy meal at Somers Town Adventure Playground

Children enjoy a healthy meal at Somers Town Adventure Playground

The ‘Summer Food For Fun’ programme aims to ‘provide young people with a delicious healthy meal throughout the holidays’.

Data from 2017 highlights the popularity of the programme with 4,500 meals provided for local children over the summer holidays.

Health development officer Holly Eastlick said: ‘The project is about providing a service that could feed the children a healthy home-cooked meal whilst at the same time allowing them to spend time in the park.’

Colleague, Marshada Chowdhury, said: ‘We have been doing quite a lot of cultural cooking with different foods from around the world. It is also an opportunity whilst the children are on site to provide them with a healthy meal.’

Health Development Officers Marshada Chowdhury (second left) and Holly Eastlick (third from right) alongside staff of Somers Town Adventure Playground

Health Development Officers Marshada Chowdhury (second left) and Holly Eastlick (third from right) alongside staff of Somers Town Adventure Playground

A key aspect of the programme is about providing education with the children involved in growing and preparing the food.

Lilian Harris, nine, said: ‘I started my own garden growing eggplants, tomatoes and onions. We use the vegetables to make soups.’

Christian Larkin, nine, added: ‘I like to get fruit such as apples when I come down. I helped to grow the vegetables such as the tomatoes.’

One of the most popular meals is beans on toast with the beans provided by Portsmouth Food Bank. Whilst a key component of the project is focused on education, Portsmouth Food Bank manager, Carly Butler believes that for some children the food provided is an essential necessity over the summer holidays.

Left to right - Christian Larkin, 9, Maddison Larkin, 11 and Lilian Harris, 9.

Left to right - Christian Larkin, 9, Maddison Larkin, 11 and Lilian Harris, 9.

‘There are a lot of children who will be out of their homes for the day because their parents simply can’t feed them. They will go to the playgrounds and whilst they are there be provided with a meal because when the playgrounds shut the many of the children won’t be able to go home for lunch,’ explained Mrs Butler.   

Children enjoying a healthy meal at Somers Town Adventure Playground as part of Summer Food and Fun Campaign

Children enjoying a healthy meal at Somers Town Adventure Playground as part of Summer Food and Fun Campaign

Carly Butler from Portsmouth Food Bank in the food store room in Southsea

Carly Butler from Portsmouth Food Bank in the food store room in Southsea