27th July, 2018

School holidays can be challenging for vulnerable and low-income families. The loss of free school meals and regular social and play opportunities can create stress and worry, leading to social isolation, and put nutrition, wellbeing and finances under additional strain. We are delighted to announce the launch of a new programme, Families, Food and Fun (FFF), which will help to address these issues. 

Families, Food and Fun will be co-ordinated by Family Action, with additional support being provided by Magic Breakfast and the Brakes founded Meals & More programme. Funded by the Department for Education (DfE), the programme will offer children AND their parents/carers free healthy food. Alongside this, a range of enrichment activities, including food preparation, growing food, cooking, budgeting, music, drama, crafts, and physical activity will be on offer. There will also be educational trips in the local community and signposting to local support services. Schools, community settings and charities in targeted disadvantaged areas of England have been encouraged to apply to receive support to deliver Families, Food and Fun during the summer 2018 holidays.

Settings accepted on to the programme will receive a grant to pay for essential items, such as food, activity resources, venue hire and additional staffing. A wide range of support will be provided from dedicated staff within Family Action, such as briefings and training, observations, building links with other organisations, and planning to sustain provision after the Summer 2018 holidays. 

Children and Families Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said: 

“For most pupils, the end of the school summer term signals the start of holidays, days out and a chance to make memories with friends and family. Other families, who might rely on the support provided by schools, are not so lucky."

“I’d like to congratulate Family Action who will run Families, Food and Fun this summer to support the most disadvantaged families in various locations across England. This exciting scheme will open the door to exciting, engaging activities for young people, make sure they are getting a healthy meal and, above all, give them the summer holiday memories and experiences they all deserve.”


David Holmes CBE, Chief Executive of Family Action, said: 

"This is a great opportunity to reduce holiday hunger and make the summer holidays more fun for children and families in more areas where there is significant need. Families, Food and Fun will give children and families access to healthy food, fun and engaging activities to make the long summer holiday easier and to aid children’s long-term development and learning. Parents and carers will also have the opportunity to gain additional knowledge and skills in a friendly and supportive environment. We are going to make this a summer to remember for lots of children and families.” 


Carmel McConnell MBE, Founder of Magic Breakfast, said:

"I know of children who dread the approach of the school holidays because they know they won’t get enough to eat, nor the opportunity to get out and take part in fun, safe, activities. Families, Food and Fun will take this very real stress away for so many families this summer and help to ensure that hundreds of children will return to school in September well-nourished, happy and ready to learn.”


Pem Hulusi, Programme Manager of Brakes Meals & More, said:

“We’re delighted to see the launch of the Families, Food and Fun programme and are thrilled to be able to increase the support available in some of the most deprived areas of need, helping more families, children and communities. We’ve supported Family Action since 2016 and are privileged to be able to help make the scheme a reality by offering a stable logistical framework to support holiday meal provision.”


Notes to Editors:

Up to an estimated three million children risk being hungry in the school holidays. This group comprises over a million children growing up in poverty who receive free school meals during term time, as well as an estimated two million who are disqualified from free school meals because their parents work for their poverty. (Hungry Holidays, APPG on Hunger (APPG), April 2017).

Alongside this programme, Family Action and Magic Breakfast are supporting schools across the country to set up and deliver the DfE - funded National School Breakfast Programme.

Find out more at www.family-action.org.uk/breakfast

For further information, case studies and interviews please contact:

The Family Action Media team at [email protected] Tel: 0207 254 6251 Mobile: 07903 074174


About Family Action

Family Action is a charity committed to building stronger families and brighter lives by delivering innovative and effective services and support that reaches out to many of the UK’s most vulnerable people. The charity seeks to empower people and communities to address their issues and challenges through practical, financial and emotional help.

Family Action’s work is wide-ranging and includes help for parents-to-be, the provision of many Children’s Centres in local communities, intensive family support, emotional health and wellbeing services, counselling, mediation and therapies, support in schools and financial grants programmes. Family Action is also recognised as a leading provider of training.

Registered Charity Number: 264 713

Website: www.family-action.org.uk, Twitter: @family_action, Facebook: familyaction, Instagram: family_action

LinkedIn: company/family-action


About Magic Breakfast

Magic Breakfast is a charity providing healthy breakfasts to more than 31,500 children in the UK who arrive at school too hungry or malnourished to learn. The charity focuses on reaching children in disadvantaged areas of the UK, forming partnerships with schools and working with them to ensure the most vulnerable children have access to a healthy meal, without barrier or stigma, at the start of the school day. Magic Breakfast works with over 470 schools - primary, secondary, SEN/ALS, and pupil referral units in England and Scotland, and is assessing need for its services in Northern Ireland and Wales. 

Magic Breakfast was established in 2003 by Carmel McConnell MBE in response to head teachers telling her that the biggest obstacle to them being able to teach was hunger among their pupils who, as a consequence, were unable to concentrate in their morning lessons.

Registered Charity Numbers: 1102510 in England and SC048202 in Scotland.

Website: www.magicbreakfast.com | Twitter: @Magic_Breakfast | Facebook: magicbreakfastuk


About Brakes Meals & More

Brakes Meals & More aims to help alleviate child poverty by providing tasty, nutritious food, motivating activities and a supportive environment to boost health, attitude and life aspirations for children of all ages from challenging backgrounds.

Registered Charity Number 1179092

Website www.brakesgroup.com