This week we are shouting about an organisation which has won a national award.

Make Lunch is a family support group based at Upper Stratton Baptist Church which provides family food and activity sessions during the school holidays.

Last week the group received an award of £400 to help them buy books and reading support materials for the children who attend the group.

“We were very surprised and quite humbled that we actually came out and won the top prize,” said Lynda Mitchell, the project team leader for the group.

The national award was sponsored by Moto Hospitality who also support the charity Meals & More who help fund the lunch club.

“You do these things and think this is just little old us trying to help people here but to be recognised at a national level was lovely,” Lynda said.

The club was established over a year ago, to help families who normally get free school meals in term time cope with the school holidays, by providing hot nutritious meals once or twice a week.

“When you’re a parent faced with 13 weeks of holiday and no extra money coming in, lots of children go hungry,” said Lynda.

The group meets during the holidays and is mainly aimed at primary school children, though includes activities for all ages. It is run on a drop in basis and so attendance numbers fluctuate each week.

“Alongside the food we have an hour and half of games and craft activities, outside play, physical activities and other things,” added Lynda.

“During the summer that helps to bridge the learning loss gap. When kids go back to school in September there is often a gap between children in poverty and those who are not - they’re not exposed to so much learning over the summer. So we try and help this too.”

The club does have a book corner, but it has not been all that well stocked.

“With the award we will buy a mixture of books we will keep for children, big books with big illustrations for the younger ones, and perhaps some for gifts.

“We also find that the book corner is a good place for children who don’t want to run around.

“For some of them, life is a bit tough and they just want to sit quietly in there,” added Lynda.

The organisers aim to theme the sessions each week and fit the food with this.

“Over the summer we had the elements, so with air we had bubbles for the children to play with, and whipping activities relating to the food.

“We try to make things fun and interesting, and a bit more engaging than a regular play session,” added Lynda.

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