Burnley Leisure Active Streets programme tackling child hunger and lockdown isolation

A food and activities programme from Burnley Leisure is tackling child hunger and lockdown isolation in the town.

By Jack Marshall, Reporter
Wednesday, 11th November 2020, 7:00 am
Snack time with the programme
Snack time with the programme

The Active Streets programme is available to young people in need of support, offering them chances the get involved with volunteering, games, and activities, as well as providing food to those who need it, with food poverty having recently been highlighted by Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford's inspirational #EndChildFoodPoverty campaign.

“Child hunger has finally become a topic amongst national political leaders and the general public, which is important," said Active Streets project officer Waheed Rashid, with the charitable trust having been tackling hunger for the past four years. "Our work began because during school holidays we saw children living on just lemonade, crisps and chocolate bars.

“So, we developed our Fit ‘n’ Fed programme as part of Active Streets to provide them with healthy snacks and lunches, along with organised activities," added Waheed, with recent autumn half-term Active Streets programmes helping over 70 children at Stoops Community Centre and Gannow Community Centre.

Burnley Leisure's Active Streets in action with dance at Stoops

Active Streets' work comes off the back of furloughed Burnley Leisure staff volunteering to help deliver food parcels to children over the summer holidays as part of the Burnley Together initiative which helped 192 children. The programme is now offering Covid-safe procedures and fun activities including circus skills, balloon making, street dance, and kickboxing with free packed lunches.

“Our Active Streets scheme is really positive and invaluable for the community," explained Waheed. “This year, we’ve learnt a lot about working with Covid restrictions [and] we will continue to support youngsters and their families during this latest lockdown and are now planning an Active Streets winter programme for evenings over the coming weeks.

“In addition to hunger, Active Streets is also addressing new challenges faced by children during this year’s Covid lockdowns," he added. "Youngsters are facing physical and mental health problems by being unable to play with and meet friends; some have been crying or very anxious because of this.

“But we are now working more effectively on issues of isolation and making a positive difference. As a charitable trust serving the whole community, Burnley Leisure is here to help everyone’s physical and mental well-being.”

For more information, head to https://burnleyleisure.co.uk/lockdown-update/