Gateshead's Poverty Board is supporting a range of activities and initiatives to help residents who are struggling. To date there has been a significant focus on work to eliminate food poverty, fuel poverty and child poverty.
Efforts to tackle the growing issue of food poverty across Gateshead have been stepped up with more and more people in our communities turning to food banks and other charities for emergency food supplies.
This resulted in the creation of the Gateshead Community Food Network to make sure organisations work better together to make bigger and longer lasting effects.
More than 50 representatives from schools, charities, community groups and local food retailers have joined us to map out what work is already being done, what else could be done and what works.
Ensuring children have access to good food and enrichment activities during the school holidays continues to be an issue in Gateshead and a priority for the Poverty Board.
During school holidays there is always an increase in demand for help at community projects that provide food, as well as the three foodbanks that operate in Gateshead. Our schools often report that children return to school telling school staff that they have not always had a daily meal, and community groups talk about families finding it difficult to pay for things to do for their children during the long summer holidays.
We have run successful "Fill the Holiday Gap" programmes for the last five years working with up to 20 partner organisations delivering much needed food and enrichment activities for several thousand children from across Gateshead during the summer and Easter school holidays.
Following this success, we were awarded £200,000 from the Department of Education from the Holiday Activities and Food Programme to work with more than 30 organisations to expand the programme and provide more than 10,000 places for children during the 2019 summer holidays.