DD2374 Kitchen Social

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Code: 
DD2374
Date signed: 
15 July 2019
Decision by: 
Debbie Jackson, Interim Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment

Executive summary

This DD seeks approval to provide an additional £100,000 grant funding for Kitchen Social, a holiday provision programme run by the Mayor’s Fund for London. Kitchen Social supports hubs, such as youth clubs, schools, faith groups, adventure playgrounds and community centres, to offer a healthy meal to children and young people from low income households during the school holidays.

The grant will be in addition to £65,000 funding already approved for the years 2016-20 under MD1618, MD2132, MD2309 and DD2342 towards the Mayor’s Fund for London’s Kitchen Social Programme.

The Kitchen Social programme will play a crucial role in helping to achieve the aim of making sure that no London child goes hungry. This additional funding will help maximise the social integration aspects of the programme by enabling a shift from a model that provides funding, training and other support to community hubs to a more strategic approach whereby learning from existing provision is used to adapt and test holiday provision models to understand their impact and leverage further investment in the area. This will help create an evidence-based case to secure a long-term commitment from central government to fund holiday provision which meets London’s needs and supports young Londoners from low income backgrounds.

Decision

That the Executive Director approves expenditure of an additional £100,000 grant funding to the Mayor’s Fund for London to support its Kitchen Social programme in 2019-20. This will take total grant funding to Kitchen Social to £165,000 since 2016.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The non-statutory London Food Strategy was published by the GLA in December 2018 under MD2387 and complements the full range of Mayoral strategies, many of which include commitments to support good food for all Londoners.

The London Food Strategy commits to continue supporting projects which align with the Mayor’s vision for every Londoner to have access to healthy, affordable, sustainable food.

The GLA London Food Programme for 2019-20 was approved via DD2342 and includes funding to support a range of initiatives, research and partnerships that align with the London Food Strategy’s priorities and will support its implementation.

For children from low-income households, the school holidays can be a difficult time. Since 2017, the Mayor’s Fund for London has been developing its holiday food provision model, Kitchen Social. Now operating in 103 community hubs across the capital, Kitchen Social gives children a safe place to go during the holidays where they can socialise and access a healthy meal. The programme’s holistic approach to holiday provision supports improved mental and physical health outcomes, emotional well-being and social integration. Additional benefits include learning about healthy eating, skills development, social inclusion, identification of children and young people in need and the professional development of staff, volunteers and local capacity.

In order for the Mayor’s Fund to achieve a successful transition from a delivery focused Kitchen Social programme to a programme focused on identifying and piloting ideas, developing a sustainable holiday provision model and identifying mechanisms for this to be mainstreamed and/or adopted by other partners, this decision requests the approval to provide an additional £100,000 in grant funding to support the programme in 2019-20, resulting in a total grant funding provision of £120,000 in 2019/20.

The GLA has previously (2016-19) provided the Mayor’s Fund for London with grant funding totalling £45,000 in respect of school holiday food provision work approved under MD1618, MD2132 and MD2309. Kitchen Social is the Mayor’s Fund for London’s response to a wider national campaign tackling food insecurity in the school holidays. It offers funding and training to local organisations to enable them to tackle holiday hunger and isolation, which affect around half a million young Londoners every school holiday. In his new London Food Strategy, the Mayor has committed to reducing school holiday hunger in London by improving provision of holiday food for children from low-income families, through the Mayor’s Fund for London scheme, Kitchen Social, which will engage 50,000 children and young people in London by 2020.

The aim over the last two years has been to establish sufficient scale across London, something which has been achieved. The additional funding will help maximise the social integration aspects of the programme by enabling a shift from a model that provides funding, training and other support to community hubs to a more strategic approach whereby learning from existing provision is used to adapt and test holiday provision models to understand their impact and leverage further investment in the area. This will help create an evidence-based case to secure long-term commitment from central government to fund holiday provision which meets London’s needs and supports young Londoners from low income backgrounds. Additional GLA funding would enable robust evaluation of the merits of a 4:5:6 model (engaging a young person for four hours per day, for five days per week, for six weeks per holiday), which is believed to be the optimal model to reduce social isolation and help retain learning during the school holidays. It represents a marked intensification of the 4:4:4 model which is being pursued elsewhere and is in need of further piloting. This would enable a far better comparison of the two models to help inform the development of an improved, sustainable holiday provision model.

Additional GLA funding would also provide capacity to the Mayor’s Fund to support high quality evaluation activity during 2019, with a full programme evaluation report early in 2020. Core costs of an evaluation partner are covered; however, the Mayor’s Fund has significant costs in terms of evaluation management, including steering the evaluation partner, supporting field work and helping hubs to collect data (many have limited capacity and it is anticipated will need significant help).

Objectives and expected outcomes

In the absence of free school meals and the support of school staff, food insecurity and social isolation are a reality for many young Londoners during the school holidays. Teachers report malnourished children returning to school after the holidays having fallen behind their peers. Many young people will never claw back this learning and health disadvantage to fulfil their potential. Research tells shows that families and wider communities are affected too. Some parents are skipping meals to feed their children and increased household fuel and food bills cause stress, anxiety and uncertainty. This can lead to debt, poor diet and social isolation.

Through the implementation of the new London Food Strategy and aligning with its priorities and commitments, the GLA’s objective is to provide funding to the Mayor’s Fund for London’s Kitchen Social programme to address increased levels of food insecurity for children from low-income households during the school holidays and to test the most effective, efficient and sustainable model of provision for London.

Increased GLA funding to Kitchen Social would enable the Mayor’s Fund for London to do the following:

• Testing of the merits of the 4:5:6 model in three hubs
• Delivery partner event: An autumn event for holiday hub providers to bring together learning from the summer period, provide an opportunity to explore different models of delivery and gain first hand feedback, alongside networking opportunities. The event has the potential to feed into revised resource packs as well as the development of recommendations for the future of holiday provision in London.
• Local authority event: An autumn event for all local authorities, alongside other interested parties to explore the issue of holiday provision. This is envisaged as a counterpart of the delivery partner event and would be a way to stimulate interest, share knowledge and further develop thinking on holiday provision. The local authority event would also feed into the development of recommendations for the future of holiday provision in London.
• Resource pack(s): A refreshed pack of resources for community partners with the latest relevant information about different holiday provision models. Subject to feedback from local authorities, this could be accompanied by the development of a learning pack for councils, academy trusts or similar bodies.
• Recommendation for London: As outlined above, an output of the two events will be the development of recommendations regarding the future of holiday provision in London. This will be a useful preliminary exercise to foreshadow the results of the more formal academic evaluation in early 2020.

GLA officers are working on a grant agreement that will capture all of the objectives that we expect to be achieved with the funding provided. This will be signed following the approval sought through this DD. No grant funding will be provided to the Mayor’s Fund for London until after this agreement has been entered into.

Equality comments

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the Mayor of London must have ‘due regard’ of the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation as well as to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not. Protected characteristics under section 149 of the Equality Act are age, disability, gender re-assignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, and marriage or civil partnership status (all except the last being “relevant” protected characteristics).

In 2018, GLA officers commissioned an Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) to assess the likely environmental, social and economic impacts of the Mayor’s commitments in the draft London Food Strategy. The IIA report was published alongside the draft strategy for consultation in May 2018 and comments were invited from stakeholders. Following the close of the consultation, the publication of the final London Food Strategy was accompanied by an IIA Post-Adoption Statement which sets out the recommendations from the IIA and how these were addressed in the final London Food Strategy. The Post Adoption Statement concluded that there were no significant adverse effects identified in relation to the implementation of the London Food Strategy and that the changes made to the final strategy strengthened it further.

Gender Equality and Equal Opportunities are enshrined within the GLA’s programmes and activities according to the Mayor’s strategy for equality, diversity and inclusion. The framework aims to bring Londoners together rather than dividing them. It promotes outcomes for a diverse range of communities that seek to bring real changes to the quality of life for all Londoners. Projects under the London Food Programme aim to engage as many Londoners as possible and many focus specifically on harder-to-reach groups. Elements of food programme projects which help to meet the needs of people sharing protected characteristics under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 include:

• Kitchen Social programme: 700,000 children in London live in poverty and obesity prevalence is twice as high for children living in the most deprived areas in London compared to those living in the least deprived areas. The Mayor’s Fund for London Kitchen Social programme is a targeted intervention to reduce inequalities experienced by London’s children and young people from low income households during the school holidays.

GLA Officers managing the London Food Programme will put in place mechanisms to help the GLA continuously review the potential to make their existing and emerging projects advance equality of opportunity for groups which have characteristics noted in the Equality Act. This will include continuing to work closely with as well as strengthening the relationships with the external partners and community organisations who support vulnerable groups (i.e. those most likely to be affected by food insecurity) on a daily basis. The evaluation findings will help inform a universal holiday provision model that reduces the stigma associated with free holiday provision, thereby fostering improved relations between those with protected characteristics and those without.

Other considerations

a) key risks and issues

The team will provide oversight of delivery against a grant agreement. The key risks and issues are outlined below:

• Risk - That the learning and advocacy activity of the Kitchen Social programme fail to lead to a long-term commitment from central government to fund holiday provision which meets London’s needs. Mitigation – GLA Officers will work closely with the Mayor’s Fund for London, delivery partners and external Community and Voluntary Sector organisations to deliver a series of events and inform the development of resources aimed at local authorities and government to establish a robust case for statutory holiday provision.

b) links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

In terms of Mayoral Strategies, grant funding the Kitchen Social programme will contribute towards:

• Directly supporting young people to access high quality food during the holiday period, thereby reducing household food insecurity. This is a major focus of the London Food Strategy which highlights that 20% of parents in London have ‘skipped meals so that their children can eat’ and 8% have reported that their children have missed meals due to poverty.
• Although operating in areas of high deprivation, Kitchen Social holiday hubs are open to all local young people, as a means of avoiding stigma. As such, they contribute to GLA objectives around reducing social isolation and aiding social integration. The eligibility for food through the holiday hubs is not linked to benefit status or any other criteria, thus are also open to those with no recourse to public funds including asylum seekers and undocumented children.
• The focus in holiday hubs is around healthy food, with 80% of Kitchen Social hubs running healthy cookery sessions as part of the offer for young people. As such, the programme contributes to Mayoral priorities around tackling child obesity and boosting food education and skills.
• Qualitative feedback indicates that propensity for learning is retained to a greater extent over the summer holiday period when young people access healthy food and holiday provision. This link needs greater investigation, but is in line with evidence now underpinning other food related interventions, such as school breakfast provision.

c) consultations and impact assessments, including data protection

In 2018, GLA officers commissioned an Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) to assess the likely environmental, social and economic impacts of the Mayor’s commitments in the draft London Food Strategy, which includes a Mayoral commitment to continue supporting the Kitchen Social programme. The IIA report was published alongside the draft strategy for consultation in May 2018 and comments were invited from stakeholders. Following the close of the consultation, the publication of the final London Food Strategy was accompanied by an IIA Post-Adoption Statement which sets out the recommendations from the IIA and how these were addressed in the final London Food Strategy. The Post Adoption Statement concluded that there were no significant adverse effects identified in relation to the implementation of the London Food Strategy and that the changes made to the final strategy strengthened it further.

Financial comments

The additional expenditure of £100,000 will be funded by the Communities & Intelligence Minor Programme budget for 2019-20.

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Funding agreement signed

July 2019

Delivery start date

July 2019

Testing of the merits of the 4:5:6 model in three hubs

July-August 2019

Delivery partner event

November 2019

Local authority event

November 2019

Resource pack(s)

November 2019

Delivery End Date

December 2019

Recommendation for London

January 2020


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