My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Cardiff Council helps to ease pressure on families during school holidays

Credit: Cardiff Council

Teams across Cardiff Council, along with partner organisations and community groups throughout the city, are joining forces to help families facing financial difficulties during the school summer holiday period.

A range of support is available at a time when there is increased financial pressures and parents and families can be guided towards ways in which youngsters can stay active and entertained, as well as how free and low-cost ways to feed families can be accessed.

The ‘Food and Fun’ programme, now in its eighth year, is delivered through 27 of the city’s schools. The multi-award-winning school holiday enrichment programme provides free meals alongside an exciting line-up of free fun activities, skills and sports delivered by partner organisations, including Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, which supports nutrition education sessions.

In addition, a host of other organisations, charities and companies are promoting free or low-cost ways to ensure everyone can eat healthily.

Cllr Sarah Merry, Cardiff Council’s Deputy Leader and the Cabinet Member for Education, said: “Many people will be feeling the effects of the continuing cost of living crisis but for some families the impact is far greater, particularly with the added financial burden that the long school holidays bring.

“We recognise the need for and importance of our Food and Fun scheme. Over the last  eight years we have established successful partnership working which has played a key role in supporting positive health and wellbeing amongst those children who benefit from the scheme the most.

“By providing access to physical activity, healthy meals and nutrition and food sessions, the initiative offers a wide range of fun activities which some children may not usually have the chance to enjoy.

“I’m delighted that the scheme has grown year on year and I’m looking forward to visiting many of the sessions this summer to meet the children and  our dedicated members of staff.”

Cabinet Member for tackling Poverty and Supporting Young People, Cllr Peter Bradbury said: “Our Money Advice team is still here to help people who need support over the school holidays, and beyond. If anyone is struggling, it’s important to remember that help is available for everyone, just pop into your local hub or call the Adviceline. Our teams are waiting to help.”

Here is a list of some of the activities and practical advice available:

Free or Low-Cost Activities

Support for Families

  • Parents and families are urged to contactCardiff Money Advice(029 2087 1071, www.cardiffmoneyadvice.co.uk) if they feel they are struggling to make ends meet or would like help with accessing benefits. Among the schemes it can help with are:

–         Healthy Snack Scheme Vouchers

–         Free School Meals

–         Council tax reduction

–         Homelessness Prevention Fund

–         Discretionary Housing Payment


Free or Low-Cost Food

  • Food pantries – fresh food, fruit and veg for a small weekly subscription, usually around £5 (www.yourlocalpantry.co.uk)
  • Community Fridge – sandwiches, cooked food, meat, dairy, veg etc. Pay what you can afford. Every day, 9.30am-11pm (Cathays Community Centre, Cathays Terrace)
  • Al-Ikhlas Foodbank – Tuesdays, 10am-noon (Al-Ikhlas Centre, Broadway, Adamsdown)
  • Food for Life Wales – free, nutritious plant-based meals, Mon-Fri, 11am-6pm, Sat, 11am-5pm (Atma Lounge, Unit 20, Capital Centre, Queen Street, Cardiff city centre)
  • Rainbow of Hope – free tea and coffee for those in need, Mon-Thurs, 10.30am-1pm, Sat, noon-1pm (23-25 Broadway)
  • Rumney Forum – foodbags, £7 for those in CF3 area, Tues (Brachdy House, Brachdy Road, Rumney)
  • St Mark’s and St Phillip’s Church – free market, Tues and Sat, 10-10.30am, St Mark’s; Sun, 3.30-4pm, St Phillip’s (St Mark’s, North Road, Gabalfa; St Phillip’s, Tweedsmuir Road, Tremorfa)
  • Glenwood Community Church – pantry for people in Llanedeyrn or Pentwyn, £3 for 16 items, Fri (Glenwood Community Church, Circle Way West, Llanedeyrn. Register first at www.glenwoodchurch.org/food-club)
  • Food Cycle Cardiff – free hot meal, families welcome, Ely, Mon, 6.30pm; Riverside, Wed, 6.30pm (Dusty Forge, Cowbridge Road West, Ely; Wyndham Street Centre, Riverside; www.foodcycle.org.uk)
  • Rumney Chapel Living Room – free breakfast and lunch, plus dinner on some evenings (Brachdy Road, Rumney www.rumneychapel.org/thelivingroomor 029 2025 0998
  • Splo-Down – Community Food Group- Wed, 5-7pm (Oasis Centre Courtyard, Splott Road, Splott www.https://splo-down.org/)

The Food and Fun scheme was developed by Cardiff’s Food and Fun  team in 2015 and was adopted by Welsh Government and rolled out to the rest of Wales during the following two years. It has been used as an example of Best Practice and has led to Wales being recognised as having the most advanced holiday provision in the UK.