Working with children and families

Lunchbox Library is a partnership with local churches, schools, community groups and voluntary organisations in collaboration with councils to offer assistance to the increasing number of families who are struggling to make ends meet during school holidays, particularly the long summer holidays, because of the absence of free school meals. For other children in low-income families not eligible for free school meals, hunger can be constant.

Summer is often seen as a time of long lazy days of fun filled activities. Sadly, not every family can afford to take time away in the long six weeks of the summer. For parents and carers on low income that means pressure on already overstretched budgets to be able to put an additional meal to the table.

The experience is also isolating. Some children can find themselves isolated, away from school friends and with nowhere to go. Paying for bus fares to take children to and from libraries might no longer be a priority in the balancing act of managing a tight budget, and visiting summer fairs is out if there is no money to pay for the children to join in fun activities.

Lunchbox Library hubs provide a safe environment offering a hot meal, fun recreational activities and also reading for pleasure with the children, which helps prevent the trend for children’s reading skills to dip over the holidays. There is also a chance to learn some of the budget recipes used, all topped up with a good community atmosphere where people can socialise.

Children are aged 16 and under, younger ones (under 12) need to come with their parent or guardian. There is a range of activities and often an opportunity for a wide range of skills to be offered to the children.

Lunchbox st duns

Lunchbox Library at St Dunstan's Church Bellingham

We help run Lunchbox Library in partnership with Elfrida Primary School and the local Co-operative store this summer. All made possible thanks to a grant received from the Diocese of Southwark. The project offered a healthy hot lunch and dessert, the team read stories with children and organised bags of fun activities. Children enjoyed making their own healthy pizzas, organising themed activities, including a 'Kids Got Talents', and much more.

You can help us

We always look forward to welcoming Volunteers for the holiday hubs, including parents, every summer and before you say to yourself that you have no skill to offer - please do contact us.

There will be no need to commit to the entire length of the summer, in fact we would love people to give the time they can even if it is as little as a few hours a week.

We would also really love to work alongside more schools, so please do get in touch.