Croydon summer school gives children on free school meals confidence over the holidays

A summer school in Croydon is running activities for children on free school meals which includes self-empowerment sessions.

Croydon African Caribbean Family Organisation UK’s programme is giving 30 children aged 10-16 the chance to take part in sports, music production, arts classes as well as healthy eating and sustainability activities until 27 August.

Chairman Councillor Callton Young said: “Our summer school will help to enrich young people’s lives through empowerment sessions, designed to inspire self-belief, and by providing opportunities for those interested to learn more about Black British History and the contribution of the Windrush Generation to British life.

“We start each day with an empowerment session because children need to learn confidence.

“Being on free school meals can knock the confidence out of some children and that’s one of the reasons why we have motivational speakers that come in to talk to them.”

The school has partnered with Croydon Supplementary Education Project, a school which specialises in Black History classes.

This gives students of African and Caribbean heritage the chance to learn about their own history such as the Windrush generation – but it is open to children from all backgrounds.

“Ultimately we want to help local children whatever their circumstances to stay fed, active and positive over the summer holidays”, Councillor Young said.

GETTING STUCK IN: pottery classes are one of the many activities at the Croydon summer school. Credit: CACFO UK

The summer school has run every year since 2011.

Until this year they charged pupils for attending – but, they have been able to provide places to children on free school meals free of charge following the extension of the Holiday Activities and Food Programme.

The Holiday Activities and Food Programme, which provides funding to local authorities to support disadvantaged children during school holidays, was expanded following campaigning by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford.

Thirty percent of children in Croydon live in poverty according to children’s charity Trust for London.

Providing free school meals is one way of addressing this issue.

There are still places left on the programme – you can sign up to the summer school here.

Featured image credit: CACFO UK.

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