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Scott Medical & Healthcare College

Year 10 Student Robin takes part in an initiative to combat youth meal skipping

Robin recently had the incredible opportunity to collaborate with the Plymouth Change Makers project group to address food poverty in Plymouth. The aim of the project is to "respond to community needs, including food insecurity".

Robin shared his thoughts on the experience, stating: 'I thought it was pretty fun. It gave me a lot of social experience and allowed me to get involved and help other people who had experienced the same struggles as me in the past. It's definitely taught me some life skills that I would take to university.'

(Robin is on the far left of the photo)

The Plymouth Change Makers project group has gained significant attention, even being featured on BBC News. Read the full story from the BBC below:

 

Organisations in Plymouth have teamed up to help young people use surplus supermarket food to cook up meals to share with their families.

The project, involving Barnardo's and the Co-op, called Plymouth Change Makers, takes place in community venues across the city.

The group said its aim was to "respond to community needs, including food insecurity".

It added research showed a third of children in Plymouth were living "below the breadline" and last year the number of people using food banks had tripled.

 

Food bank 'embarrassment'

Tuesday takeaway cook-offs have been just one of the options open to 10 to 25-year-olds who drop in to Plymouth Change Makers sessions.

The group also said people could take part in wellbeing sessions and get expert advice on issues that worried them, while making new friends, building skills and having fun.

Barnardo’s senior project worker and youth worker Carin Laird said she was surprised by how many young people were being forced to change their eating habits due to the cost-of-living crisis.

She said: “Young people are skipping meals.

 

“Even with the Fit and Fed schemes, external that run over the holidays, they are still skipping meals.

“Families are not being able to afford to feed children three meals a day."

She said some young people felt "embarrassed to use food banks" and many were relying on cheap, processed food.

"If children are going hungry, this will impact their concentration at school and have a knock-on-effect regarding future opportunities and their wellbeing," she added.

 

Scarlet, a young carer in a family of six, said she felt "embarrassed" having to go to a food bank.

She said: “Clubs like this are really good because you are able to cook meals and support your families, but you’re not having to miss school to go to a food bank or feel the embarrassment of having to go.

“It is quite demoralising. My school gives me food bank vouchers and its embarrassing being given one.”

Kayden, 14, who attended the first event, said the best thing about the session was the teamwork, co-operation and kindness.
 

'Vital wellbeing support'

Fifteen-year-old Lilli added: “I really enjoyed it. It’s nice to get in a kitchen and just have fun with your friends and make something.

"I enjoyed the experience it gave us, and the independence.”

Jessica Hanson, senior manager at Barnardo's, said she hoped the project made a "positive difference in the community".

"Young people don’t need a referral to engage with our activities, and we would like to reassure parents and carers that our dedicated project workers are here to offer vital wellbeing support and opportunities," she said.

"We know this is a difficult time for many young people, and we are grateful to the young people who generously gave their time to co-design this service."

BBC story: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/c7229p4eekyo