HideOut Youth Zone celebrates providing young people with free hot meals for a year.
In October 2022, HideOut began providing free meals for all members on all sessions throughout its provision.
Due to the increased pressures put on local communities, families and young people by the cost-of-living crisis, the decision was made that it was vital that we offer our members this essential support.
In Manchester alone, child poverty rates have risen to more than 40%; such figures even reaching upwards of 60% in areas closest to the Youth Zone.
In OnSide’s recent Generation Isolation research, it was reported that young people themselves have noted a sense of anxiety regarding cost-of-living, with 69% describing themselves as concerned, rising to 72% for those from less affluent households.
This provision therefore is so important for the wellbeing of our young people, providing an essential necessity to those who may be at risk of going without, as well as perhaps helping to relieve some of their feelings of worry.
Beginning on October 24th 2022, we delivered 379 free meals to young people in the first week, showing an increase of 37.5% by the end of week 4.
As well as offering an assistance to cost-of-living pressures, these provisions were also key in tackling ‘Holiday Hunger’, an area that has been of increasing concern for HideOut as school breaks present a heightened risk of young people who receive free school meals to be going without food.
Inclusion Coordinator, Sam Morris, notes the positive impact of these meals on the physical, mental and social wellbeing of the young members:
“For some young people they previously would be coming to session hungry after school, with some not knowing if there was anything for them to eat when they got home. On session we have seen an increase in young people eating together, with the staff team encouraging them to eat at the same time around the central tables- as for some eating at a table and with others is something that they don’t experience at home. We have also seen some young people’s behaviour and mood improve due to them no longer being hungry as they have had a hot nutritious meal, allowing them to engage with activities and their peers more positively.”
Providing this service has only been possible through the contributions of our patrons and supporters, even going as far as to supply further funding additional to their patronage in order to help us make this happen.
We are proud that, with this generosity from organisations including Eric Wight Charitable Trust, St James’ Place ICG, Burberry Plc, Fanatics, Hobbycraft and Houlihan Lokey, we were able to give out 4,458 meals between November 2022 and March 2023, as well as maintain the delivery of this service for a full year.
A year since we began this offering and we are more committed than ever to ensuring all young people, at all sessions continue to be provided with a hot, nutritious meal and that HideOut continues to be there for them in these pressured times.
If you would be interested in supporting us to continue this offer, please get in touch:
- Corporate Fundraising: Hannah Baines (Hannah.Baines@empoweryouthzones.org)
- Becoming a Patron: Kelly Taylor (Kelly.Taylor@hideoutyouthzone.org )
HideOut Youth Zone
HideOut Youth Zone is a local youth charity which opened in September 2020. The Youth Zone provides a safe and inspiring place for thousands of young people aged 8 – 19, and up to 25 for those with additional needs.
Located on Hyde Road in Gorton, Manchester, HideOut is dedicated to supporting young people by providing three things which all young people need and deserve – somewhere safe to go, something positive to do and someone trusted to talk too.
HideOut Youth Zone is open evenings, weekends and throughout the school holidays, providing a diverse range of activities for just £5 annual membership and 50p a visit.
HideOut Youth Zone is part of the OnSide network – a network of 15 Youth Zones nationally, set up by the charity OnSide.
For more information about HideOut Youth Zone please visit: www.hideoutyouthzone.org