Community view: Tackling holiday hunger with Hammers

PUBLISHED: 08:30 27 January 2019

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When I grew up in Newham we weren't in any way a rich family, but we always had food on the table.

That’s why I was so surprised to learn that in 2019, many kids are forced to skip meals during the holidays because of family income problems.

In both Newham and Tower Hamlets, nearly two in five people are living below the poverty line, while Newham is also home to the highest proportion of low-income workers of any London borough.

This means many children are eligible for free school meals but during the holidays these meals stop being available. Unfortunately, it’s the case that holiday hunger is a bigger problem in east London than anywhere else in the capital.

Funded by the West Ham United Foundation, the club provides free multi-sport and health-based sessions for five to 11-year-olds during the holidays. Kids from families who are eligible for free school meals, job seekers allowance or any kind of benefit, can attend a positive programme which also provides meals to help them get the necessary calories they need.

As a well-paid footballer, I know I am lucky, and I do believe that with that comes the responsibility to help others.

That’s why I’m delighted that through the Players’ Project we are embracing the work being done by West Ham in our community to address local need across key areas including poverty, loneliness, jobs, learning and health.

As well as this, the Club launched the Players’ Project at the end of last year.

This committed to investing in projects which benefit key areas including poverty, loneliness, jobs, learning and health.

Positive initiatives like this will continue to strengthen that bond between the Club and the local community.

I’m proud to support the holiday hunger programme, it is important work, and whilst I’m at West Ham it is something that I will continue to do.

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