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Tree.png Supports Winter Hunger Campaign

“The impact of addressing hunger cannot be overstated. When children have access to nutritious meals, both their physical and mental well-being is bolstered, and they are better equipped to engage in the world around them, their studies and their relationships.” Jamie Masraff, CEO OnSide 

This Winter, joined forces with other funders to help OnSide's network of Youth Zones provide 34,339 meals for children whose families are very badly hit by the cost-of-living crisis. Too many families are cutting down on essential items in order to survive - food is one thing that nearly always gets cut - with families regularly going hungry. This fund meant  that they had one less thing to worry about. 

For, our priority was to reach those families living in the most deprived communities and through OnSide, we could find them easily and get help to them quickly and quietly. 

“The free food offer to our young people and families has provided much-needed support in this difficult time. There are young people who will always take up the free food offer, who wouldn't have bought hot food when priced at £1. It pains me to think that, without your funding, they will be going hungry.” Mahdlo, Oldham Youth Zone 

Nick's story helps show the many challenges families are facing and how OnSide and its supporters like, can make a big difference when it really matters. Nick* has been an active member at Blackburn with Darwen Youth Zone for over four years. Initially, he was reserved and preferred solitude in the gaming area. However, with the encouragement of youth workers he has become more confident and explored new areas, notably the arts room. 

In time, he began to open up about his home life and personal circumstances. Nick confided in his youth worker that his family was facing extreme and unexpected financial challenges. In response, the Blackburn team stepped up to support him. To maintain a collaborative approach, colleagues invited Nick's mother into the Youth Zone, establishing regular contact to completely understand how to support Nick and his family. 

One of the first steps was the provision of free meals to Nick, part of the gift from This immediate provision of essential help is rooted in a Youth Zone setting that can provide much wider support, too. 

For Nick, that includes feeding him; listening and supporting him through the challenges that he and his family are experiencing; aiding his parents; and providing Nick with opportunities that would not otherwise be open to him, given the severe financial circumstances – the chance to lead a 'normal life'. 

Nick has been chosen to represent his Youth Zone at external events and supported to do so, enhancing his self-confidence, fostering his development, and offering him opportunities to encounter new experiences. 

All this makes a difference in moments when life can seem impossible. We are delighted to have been able to help and support Nick and so many more children and parents this Winter. 


*Name has been changed.


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