A UNIQUE scheme to tackle the cost of childcare during the school holidays and support parents on low wages has been launched at Evesham’s Adventure Playground.
The pilot ‘Pie and Play’ scheme is supported by local businesses who donate food to the popular playground’s trained kitchen staff.
As a result, working parents can not only ensure affordable childcare for their youngsters but also free meals.
The trial scheme was launched in conjunction with Caring Hands in the Vale, which runs the town’s foodbank at the start of the school holidays and has already seen 30 children a day signed up.
Play leader Dave Bouker said: “We are very excited about this project. Low paid working families whose children receive free school meals in term time struggle to afford their childcare with the price of packed lunches adding to the cost.
“As more businesses are becoming aware of better uses for their excess food, we are able to use their donated produce to provide nutritious meals in our kitchens.
“This is enabling us to offer free food to all children, young people and families who need feeding,” he added.
Jenny Wormall, chair of the charity’s management board has praised the support from companies who in the past have had to throw food away at the end of each day.
“We have agreement with local companies to receive bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and cheese, and will carefully monitor to make sure that this food is used to provide an exciting menu for children.
“Another great example of local people collaborating to overcome challenges in our community,” she added.
The launch of Pie and Play follows a recent report from the Family and Childcare Trust which highlighted the gap between provision for affordable childcare during school holidays.
The report calls for better planned affordable childcare during school holidays and caring bosses at the Adventure Playground hope the new scheme will tackle the growing problem for families struggling with austerity and low paid jobs.
Pie and Play will run throughout the summer and families are invited to visit the Adventure Playground from 11am to 2pm each weekday, with lunch being served at midday
Local businesses and companies can sign up with offers of excess fresh food by phoning Dave on 01386 442154 or Kath on 07964549902.