Businesses join forces to end child hunger

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Tackling child hunger: pubs and restaurants across Merseyside are asking customers to add a donation
Tackling child hunger: pubs and restaurants across Merseyside are asking customers to add a donation

Related tags: Merseyside

Hospitality businesses across Merseyside are being encouraged to tackle child hunger by asking customers to add a donation to a youth centre to their bill.

The Wirral Youth Zone, known as The Hive, serves hundreds of hot meals to young people every day, at a subsidised cost of £1 per meal.

Child hunger in the UK

Schools have stepped in to fill the poverty gap, according to research from the Child Poverty Action Group and National Education Union. Almost half of the 900 schools surveyed said they offered one or more services like food banks, clothes banks or emergency loans for families.

The six-week summer break from school often signals a crisis for many families, who rely on free school meals in term time.

The UK was rated 34th for food security out of 41 high-income countries in a 2017 Unicef report.

This is the amount that the Never Bee Hungry​ campaign hope customers will donate to the cause through a voluntary donation at the end of a meal.

Customers’ donations will provide young people in need with “food for today and skills for life” to help alleviate the poverty cycle.

One in five children in the UK live in homes that are ‘severely food insecure’, according to a report by the Government's Environmental Audit Committee.

Pubs and restaurants that take part will be given discrete table cards that outline the scheme and how the donation will be used.

Skills for the future

The Hive chief executive Adam Mellor said its programmes worked to address the root causes of child hunger with schemes focused on employment opportunities.

He explained: “No child should go hungry or have their future pre-determined by where they are born, this is something we firmly believe in at The Hive.

“We see families trapped in a spiral of poverty and hunger that can persist for generations – and we want to do something about it; not only to help feed young people in need now but to equip them with the skills they need to break the cycle and escape future poverty.”

The Hive served more than 35,000 hot meals to young people last year, including 5,000 free meals to pupils without access to food during the school holidays.

Generous customers

“This is a fantastic opportunity to get behind a tremendous cause, right on our doorstep,” Cathy Frost, the owner of licensed bistro Thyme added.

“We’ve been involved with similar schemes in the past and have been thrilled by the generosity of our customers. We think what The Hive is striving to achieve with Never Bee Hungry​ will really resonate with the people who visit Thyme and we’re proud to be playing a part.”

Licensed retail and hospitality training provider CPL Training Group is running the campaign with the youth facility.

CPL managing director Louise Sui said the group wanted to help improve the futures of vulnerable children and young people.

She said: “We are confident that Merseyside’s restauranteurs will give their backing to the Never Bee Hungry​ campaign and, along with their customers, will help to make a difference to young people in need on their doorstep.”

As a thank you, staff from participating restaurants will be able to use the facility for a team-bonding experience of their choice, with options including rock climbing and a music studio experience.

Any venues interested in the Never Bee Hungry campaign are invited to contact The Hive’s head of fundraising Tom Woolley on gbz.jbbyyrl@guruvirlbhgumbar.bet​. 

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