Newington Community Centre will be offering free breakfasts and lunches and a packed programme of activities for families over the school Summer holidays.
The trustees of the centre say the programme is in response to the shocking news that Thanet has the highest rates of child poverty in Kent – with Newington now the most affected ward.
The data for 2017/18, compiled by Loughborough University on behalf of coalition End Child Poverty, says 35% of children on the isle live below the poverty line (after housing costs) – equating to 11,474 youngsters- with Newington estimated to have a shocking 51% of youngsters in poverty.
The wards with the second highest figure of 46% are Cliftonville West and Dane Valley followed by 42% in Northwood, Margate Central and Salmestone.
Newington Primary head teacher Cliff Stokes previously told The isle of Thanet News that working parents on low wages are particularly hard hit.
He said: “There are far more working parents now than ever before. However, many of them are in low paid work, earning barely more than the minimum wage.
“There are also difficulties encountered with Universal Credit payments. Single working parents are unable to claim for free prescriptions or dental treatment, with little or no help with free school meals. Therefore working parents in low income households are now considerably worse off, regardless of the fact that they are working harder than ever.
“At Newington we support all parents by providing every child with a free school meal and allow all children to enjoy cultural experiences regardless of their ability to pay as it a right of every child to have experiences as part of their education.”
The community centre is working with Newington Big Local, Fareshare and Thanet Earth to help provide the food. Volunteers will be on hand to share more information on events during the holidays.
Truustee Mike Harrison said: “The Trustees of Newington Community Centre are concerned that #51% of Newington’s young people are living below the poverty line, which is the highest in Kent never mind Thanet, so we are offering free breakfasts and lunches as often as we can at Newington Community Centre to try and help over the summer holidays.
“We are also providing lots of completely free activities at the Centre including arts and crafts and sports and everyone that attends will get free food and a drink.”
Activities will include
- Breakfast club 9am-11am Monday to Thursday
- Mondays noon to 4pm: Fit and Fed with Active Thanet and and national sports charity Street Games providing activity sessions and healthy meals for young people in Thanet and 6pm–8pm – Chill Club
- Wednesdays noon-4pm – Family creative sessions and 6pm to 8pm Newington Numbers Bingo
- Thursdays 4.45pm-6.15pm – Intergenerational Club and 7pm to 9pm Thanet Canine Society
- Fridays 11am to 2pm tennis
There is no need to book for events, just turn up and take part. Newington Community Centre is in Princess Margaret Avenue.
The Fit and Fed programme will also be at Margate Tennis Lawn Club every Thursday 10am to noon for under 10s activities – register by emailing [email protected]
And Fridays 10am to 4pm at The Youth Zone Club & The Pavilion Youth and Community Cafe, St Peters Rec. To help out at the club call 07963226275.