‘Working together to help schools nourish children, promote healthy living and provide social learning experiences during the school holidays’
What is SHEP?
SHEP is a school-based education programme that provides food and nutrition education, physical activity, enrichment sessions and healthy meals to children in areas of social deprivation during the school summer holidays. Food and Fun is the brand identity used at local level to promote schemes to children and families.
Working Together Food and Fun - Click here
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. Continued Welsh Government funding enabled the programme to grow to 77 schemes in 21 local authorities offering nearly 4,000 places to pupils in 2019. The Welsh Government has committed to fund SHEP in 2021 with £4.85m allocated in the draft budget. The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) will continue to coordinate the roll-out by working closely with local authorities and partner agencies.
Local authorities may wish to consider how SHEP can support the recovery from the broader impact of the COVID – 19 pandemic, particularly for those children and young people in areas of social deprivation.
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 well-being
- 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.
For more information contact: SHEP@wlga.gov.uk