‘Working together to help schools feed children, promote healthy living and provide social learning experiences during the school holidays’
What is SHEP?
The SHEP is a school-based programme that provides healthy meals, food and nutrition education, physical activity and enrichment sessions to children in areas of social deprivation during the summer holidays. ‘Food and Fun’ is the brand identity used at a local level to promote the clubs to children and families.
In 2016 the WLGA piloted the SHEP model nationally in 10 schools, working with 5 local authorities and 3 local health boards. Cardiff University provided the evaluation and recommended ‘Further scaling up of the model to understand the educational and health benefits to children and their families in different contexts.’ The Welsh Government part funded the programme in 2017 to 38 clubs in 12 local authorities and all 7 local health boards. Further funding in 2018/19 and 2019/20 is allocated within the Welsh Government’s draft budget to expand the programme and benefit more children and families across Wales.
Why is SHEP needed?
During the school holidays, when Free Breakfast in Primary Schools and Free School Meals are not available, some families struggle to afford or access food that provides a healthy diet. Some children also experience social isolation and a lack of intellectual stimulation, normally provided by school or family enrichment activities, and this may contribute to widening the attainment gap.
Food insecurity is a growing issue in Wales, and the UK as a whole. In 2016 the Public Policy Institute for Wales identified this as a major policy priority along with the under-use of school facilities to provide community based services and the emotional wellbeing of primary school children.
SHEP embodies the principles of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and contributes towards achieving the well-being goals [GT1]. Public Service Boards can demonstrate sustainable development and realise a wide range of benefits by delivering SHEP in their local authority.
What are the main benefits of SHEP?
- The clubs make children more active
- Improvements in children’s diets
- Making new friends and having fun
- Learning and engagement with school
- Helps parents meet the costs of school holidays
- Improving parents’ health and wellbeing
- Parents learn new skills
- Involves the whole family
- Facilitates collaboration between agencies
- Involves children in decision making
- Makes better use of existing facilities
- Encourages community engagement
- Offers paid and voluntary employment
- Signposts to other services
How can I find out more?
The SHEP has received attention from numerous politicians, councillors, local authorities, local health boards, head teachers, school governors, agencies and parents. Each local authority will have a steering group and SHEP Coordinator. Please contact Christina Powdrill, National SHEP Coordinator at the WLGA for more details on 029 2046 8678 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Links: Outcomes of SHEP Wales 2016 - Cardiff University / A Wales Fit for Children - Children's Commissioner / What is SHEP / SHEP Wales Roll Out - Gareth Thomas / UK Context - Lindsay Graham