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“Portadown Gets Active” A scheme to support local children and end holiday hunger

Published 31 August 2017 | By Almac

Children in Northern Ireland has just launched a scheme to support local children in Portadown. The programme is being delivered in partnership with the community and voluntary sector, statutory agencies, local schools and local government with additional support from Craigavon based Almac Group.

The "Portadown Gets Active" programme will run throughout August and is designed to encourage young people aged between 8 and 11 to stay active during the summer months and help them understand the importance of healthy living by providing them with the skills and confidence to cook simple nutritious meals on a budget.

The programme is being held in Presentation Primary School to make the most of the school estate which would otherwise lie empty during the summer holidays.

The project was created in response to evidence that many families face severe difficulties during holiday periods when free school meal entitlement ends. It not only provides a healthy snack and lunch, but also gives children the opportunity to take part in a range of activities and gain an OCN qualification in Healthy Living. A total of 70 children are taking part in the programme with a further 20 older children having already taken part in a Mentoring Programme.

Pauline Leeson, Chief Executive of Children in Northern Ireland said:

"For some families, particularly those who receive free school meals, the school holidays can be a struggle. It's not just the increase in food cost but the pressures associated with keeping children active."

Alan Armstrong, CEO, Almac Group said: "The opportunities created by this programme are to be greatly welcomed. It is great to see us all pull together to ensure these children receive the education and support they need to guarantee they have the skillset and ability to prepare decent, nutritious meals now and into the future. We are proud to be supporting this initiative to help unlock the potential of all children and young people no matter where they grow up."

The project in Portadown is a partnership between Oasis Youth Portadown, Children & Young People's Strategic Partnership, Pathways Activities and Presentation Primary School with additional support from the Public Health Agency, food supplier Brakes UK and the Almac Group.