In our next Challenge Poverty Week guest blog, Linda Lees, Lifelong Learning Strategic Manager at the City of Edinburgh Council, provides an insight into the innovative Discover! Summer 2021 programme to help address holiday hunger, and so much more.

Set up to contribute towards closing the poverty related attainment and achievement gap, the Discover! programme aims during the school holidays are:

  • To reduce food and financial stress
  • To reduce social isolation
  • To promote and encourage healthy eating

In a great combined effort with partners, over the six weeks of the summer, a varied range of activities were held within Covid restrictions. Discover Online 23 workshops were held from independent artists to Edinburgh Museum which complemented the historic environment themed art packs which were distributed in Discover in a Box. Each week families received fresh fruit and vegetables in their box along with 24 healthy meal recipes and healthy eating advice from Edinburgh Community Food. Six live cooking sessions were also held.

Making the most of the weather there were 46 Picnic in the Park events, which saw a huge commitment from staff which was well worth the enjoyment of the families and children who attended.

Discover Families Explore Together enabled families to do just that. Not only exploring areas of their city with the distribution of 1700 Family DaySaver tickets, but ScotRail tickets enabled travel further afield to North Berwick, Linlithgow, Burntisland, Glasgow and Stirling. Newly recommended families didn’t miss out and were able to visit Edinburgh Zoo.

“Going on the trains they’re not going far but for them it was like they were in a different country for the day. Also the (Discover) staff have all been so friendly and helpful and I’ve loved my stress free summer this year”

Children and their families were also advised of services for free school uniforms, employment support from Access to Industry, and energy advice from Home Energy Scotland. Young people attended a BBC: Microbit course, and over 200 Junior Award Scheme for Schools award packs were distributed.

What will the October half term offer encompass? You can find out here.

Photo: Puff by Erik Schepers reproduced under NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)