In response to the challenges many families are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Chartwells, Compass Group UK & Ireland’s education business, is going the extra mile to support and educate children during the school holidays, by developing a suite of resources for schools, charities, councils and children at home.
The community support package includes:
- Supporting a number of organisations with food hampers including items such as drinks, pasta and tinned produce. Plus, a range of activities for children and families to work on together.
- Online and printable workshops and materials to help organisations run education and cooking sessions. These include a voice-over to deliver the workshop if needed and contain activity suggestions and information sheets, all with minimal equipment required.
- Bespoke virtual training for cooks and volunteers, around nutrition, health and safety and some hacks for cooking healthy food on a budget for the children they work with.
- A Holiday Provision and Community Programme how to guide, ‘Filling the gap’, to encourage sites across the Chartwells estate to engage with local organisations to support with food provision, equipment and sharing resources.
- Chartwells’ Super Yummy Kitchen channel will continue to share three recipes a week. The video series enables viewers to make food whilst learning about the importance of a balanced diet. It has been created by Chartwells’ Nutritionists and Chefs, including Executive Chef, Andrew Walker who presents some of the videos.
Chartwells commitment to school holidays
In 2018 Chartwells launched a dedicated health and wellbeing programme, Beyond the Chartwells Kitchen, which helps tackle issues like childhood obesity. As part of this there was a focus on holiday provision and since then they have reached almost 4000 children in school breaks alone and trained around 70 holiday lunch club volunteers.
This summer, Chartwells will continue its partnerships with several organisations including The Mayor’s Fund for London - Kitchen Social, which gives young Londoners, on free school meals and from low-income families support during school holidays. Other partnerships include: The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, The Hubb Foundation, Food in School Holidays (Norwich Foodbank) and Transforming Lives for Good.
Clara Widdison, Head of Social Inclusion from Kitchen Social, said: “We invited our holiday provision delivery hubs to join a session with Chartwells ahead of the summer period in order to grow their confidence and skills in cooking for large groups of children and young people. The hubs reported that the materials were accessible and easy to follow. They also found a lot of value in being able to ask questions of the Chartwells team, who comprised of a chef, a health & safety lead and a nutritionist. We had overwhelmingly positive feedback and would recommend this short – but useful course as essential viewing for holiday hubs.”
Charlie Brown, Managing Director of Chartwells, commented: “We’re keen to build on our holiday provision work as we believe in supporting children and families, by providing resources and education wherever possible. We know that school holidays can be tough for some families, but our vision is to create healthier futures for children and young people and we want to continue this work all year round. We would usually be delivering education and cooking sessions face to face, but with current restrictions in place we have turned our hand to developing a great set of resources for people to use.”
Responding to coronavirus
Since late March, when schools shut down as part of the nationwide lockdown, Chartwells has kept the majority of their kitchens open to support key worker and vulnerable children. During this time they have aligned with over 30 charities to supply 9.8 tonnes of food, helping some of society’s most vulnerable.