RP Adam Ltd (Arpal Group) and the Brakes Meals & More scheme has partnered with Youth Borders to support two existing clubs in our local area as a pilot this week over the October half-term. The pilot is designed to attract more children through the clubs’ doors to engage in social activities and to provide a hot meal to each child attending. We are delighted to announce that we will be supporting TD1 Youth Hub in Galashiels and Rowlands in Selkirk.
Both clubs have kitchen and serving areas on site so are ideal to receive support through the Meals & More scheme. Both are involved with FareShare and get support from Greggs the retail baker; however until now they didn’t have holiday hunger support.
The Meals & More scheme launched by foodservice giant Brakes will provide food and guides for healthy eating. We expect 70 people to arrive this week with at least half needing a good meal – they are likely to have had no food at all before arriving at the club.
Both clubs are drop-in centres that also provide life skills and support to young people and young parents. The Rowlands club has already begun dialogue with Selkirk High School about sharing their garden and using this during the summer holidays to grow and prepare their own food.
The issues facing rural poverty are quite different from urban poverty and we are committed to ensuring that this pilot scheme not only becomes financially sustainable for ongoing future school holiday cover, but also extends across the wider Scottish Borders region.
TD1 Youth Hub works with young people aged 11 years and upwards mainly from the Galashiels, Tweedbank and Stow locality. They welcome approximately 250 individuals through the door each year, the busiest time being the school holidays.
Douglas Ormiston from TD1 explained:
“Although free school meals are available, some youngsters are so disengaged with the school system that they just don’t turn-up to school and therefore miss out on the free meal. In some cases, family lives are so chaotic that no-one is applying for a free meal that the child is entitled to; therefore, when they come to the Hub they are famished. When you add in the school holiday situation the issue is magnified considerably.”
Susan Law from Rowlands echoed the view of Douglas. Although covering a smaller area Rowlands still supports 175 individuals per year, and is open 6 nights per week. Ms Law reiterated that the school holiday support is essential.
It’s Not Just Meals: It’s “More!”
The “More” part of the programme is just as important to us here at RP Adam. We will be visiting the clubs with members of our Selkirk-based staff to see what volunteer support we can offer over future holiday periods – of course, we will be supporting them with much needed free cleaning products!
RP Adam Ltd is also engaging in a pilot mentoring scheme with Selkirk High School and our local Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) office. The youngsters taking part in this mentoring programme will also be introduced to Rowlands to help them access extra support during the holiday period.
Lee-Anne Gillie, UK Operations Director says:
“Supporting Meals & More financially was an easy decision for RP Adam Ltd, and I am delighted with the passion and determination we and other local interested parties have put in – not only getting these pilots up and running, but getting other local businesses and stakeholders involved to make this an ongoing sustainable social venture, financially and through volunteer support.”
We are also very grateful to two local businesses who have joined the movement and will be supporting both clubs with free water and fruit supplies. Many thanks to Bob Hogarth, Branch Director MKM Galashiels, and Gordon Brown, Chairman GB Technologies, for their generous support.
Meals & More targets children from 2-18 years old, as well as their families and carers, and to date has served over 38,000 meals to over 4,000 children. The initiative has progressed significantly since its inception in 2015. The original four clubs has now increased to over 150 so far this year, ahead of its target. The ambition is to have 500 clubs operating at full capacity providing Meals & More activities over the full 13 week school holiday period.
If you would like to offer financial or volunteer support to the Borders Meals & More movement please contact Lee-Anne Gillie on 01750 21585 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information you can view the Meals & More video on our YouTube channel by clicking here.