Sheriff of Norwich, William Armstrong
, visited a FISH
(Food (and Fun) In School Holidays) club at the Cadge Road Community Centre
in West Norwich
on August 7, to see 40 local children enjoying lunch and an hour of fun activities.
The lunch club, which is run by volunteers mainly from the Eternity Christian Centre
, has run since last April under the Make Lunch
charity. It has now joined together with the FISH initiative and four other brand new clubs operating during the summer school holidays at Lakenham, Thorpe Hamlet, Catton Grove
and Silver Road
. Each caters for between 30-50 children and is set to run until the beginning of September. The initiative has been co-ordinated by Norwich Foodbank.
, who runs the Cadge Road club, said: “We provide a hot meal and dessert and an hour of activities such as football or crafts, three days a week during the school holiday. We have also had some visits from beat boxing and animals from Banham Zoo
“The children are all registered through family workers and parent support advisors at local schools and then invited to the club. We have 50 on our list and more people waiting as we are in an area where it is really needed and we are not big enough to meet all the need.
“We run the club because the need is there and we want to show the church stepping out of its buildings and working in the community. I have children myself and the thought that I could not feed them during the holidays would be awful,” said Lisa
During his visit, William Armstrong, Sheriff of Norwich, said: “I think that the FISH lunch club is wonderful and I have had a chance to talk to both the helpers and to some of the children who obviously enjoy being here. They are given a good meal and are being introduced to activities and allowed to do what children should have the right to do – to enjoy themselves and have a happy and fulfilled existence. Providing children with that sort of positive experience has got to be good for them and for the community. It is about recognising that we have all have a responsibility for each other.
“Much of the work of Foodbank and FISH seems to be connected with the church and is about putting the Christian gospel into action. Caring for each other is an important imperative of faith. It is great that so many church folk support it and recognise the importance of the work, “ he said.
The network of FISH lunch clubs has been set up by Norwich Foodbank and its development manager, Hannah Worsley,
said: “We set out to provide children with healthy, nutritious food and fun in the school holidays, when so many families struggle to find money for extra meals and entertainment. There are so many people giving up time, money and resources to make these projects work and the community spirit behind FISH is amazing. It's very sad that this is needed but we thank God that we have the resources and supporters to be able to provide FISH to those who need it.”
The initiative has been supported by many organisations including Norwich Consolidated Charities, Norfolk Chicken Association, West Norwich Lions
, supermarkets, allotment groups, Norse, Britvic
and activity providers including Right Angle
doing CSI activities and the National Bookstart Trust
, as well as private individual donations.
It is planned that the initiative will continue and expand during the October half-term with more clubs in the pipeline.
Pictured above is the Sheriff of Norwich, William Armstrong with children at the Cadge Road FISH lunch club.