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News Report Page 3 of 34
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Holiday food and fun with the Mayor's Summer Lunch Club

Food for thought: Karl Sheeran, Laura Hankey and Leigh Sheridan from Can Cook get ready to deliver meals to Liverpool children during the summer break.

CHILDREN across Liverpool will enjoy a summer packed with fun thanks to a partnership between Liverpool City Council and voluntary groups and organisations throughout the City. Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson has committed ₤50,000 from his charity, The Mayor's Hope Fund, to create the Mayor's Summer Lunch Scheme.

The move comes as both locally and nationally, community groups and foodbanks brace themselves for their busiest summer ever. Many are working hard to feed children and families who have been hit with delays and reductions in their benefit payments due to welfare reforms such as the introduction of Universal Credit.

To help, a network of playgroups, Schools, leisure centres, youth clubs and children's centres are hosting a series of sport, arts, crafts and outdoors sessions aimed at a keeping children and young people active, healthy and happy. Food will be provided at all sessions.

Free School meals during term time are a lifeline for many families, and during the 6 week summer break many children face going without. Ensuring that children have the security of a fresh meal means that they don't have to go hungry and can return to School healthy and ready to learn.

Working with food charity Can Cook and Gourmet Social Enterprise, the project is all about food and fun for children and young people each weekday, until Friday, 30 August 2019.

Garston based Can Cook has been tasked with providing 500 hot meals a day to supply 11 play groups and activity sessions in South Liverpool. Whilst a team of volunteers helping Gourmet Social Enterprise will be putting together packed lunches for the children taking part in activities at Lifestyle Centres and Children's Centres, in North Liverpool. Run by ex-offender Chris Brown, the scheme is all about supporting the local community.

The City Council has been working with children's centres and Schools to spread the word about the activity sessions. Local Ward Councillors have also been instrumental in gathering information about the number of children and young people who will be taking part and referring families onto the various projects.

The Mayor's Summer Lunch Club is a new initiative and builds on work by the Council over the past 6 years to provide food to children and families during the summer holidays. The City Council already works with the Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services (LCVS) and the Liverpool Play Partnership to provide activities and healthy food at 70 play schemes across the City during the summer under the banner Positive about Play.

Galloping Gourmets: Chris Brown and Danielle Forster from Gourmet Social Enterprise.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said:- "What is really important is that no child should be denied the chance to have a great time over the summer, based on where they are from or their ability to pay for it. We want to make it as easy as possible for parents to allow their children to take part, which is why we are providing fresh food every day. We want our children and young people remain active and healthy over the summer holidays. We are supporting a whole host of activities across the City that are all aimed at making the summer break an opportunity for the children to have fun, socialise and try their hands at a range of different activities. We are really pleased to be working in partnership with a range of organisations and I am confident we can provide our young people with a summer to remember."

Laura Lynch Hankey, Development Manager at Can Cook, said:- "Summer can be a time of crisis for struggling families, children who go hungry return to School malnourished and already behind their classmates. Through partnering with Liverpool City Council, our fresh meals will ensure that children in our City are not only fed but fed well. The food we create and provide is nutritionally balanced; it arrives fresh each day and takes the stress away from playschemes and families so that they can concentrate on creating memories with the children this summer."

Chris Brown, Chief Executive of Gourmet Social Enterprise, said:- "We have been feeding children at 9 Schools through our café but we wanted to do more. We are really proud that the Mayor of Liverpool has decided to work with us on this project. We want to do all we can to make sure that children do not go hungry during the summer holiday by having at least 1 decent meal a day. Our goal is to make Liverpool the 1st City to completely eradicate holiday hunger and working together, I know we can achieve this."

You can find out about venues and activities for the Mayor's Summer Lunch club on the Liverpool City Council's website.

Family experience inspires graduate's app business idea

A business goal, to inspire 1 million people to improve their health and wellbeing, is the mission of Edge Hill University graduate Ross Aylmer. The 21 year old, from Ormskirk, who has graduated with 1st Class Honours in Sports Development and Management, is already making a positive impact with his Pactive app, which was inspired by the experience of helping his Nan change her lifestyle following a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis. "With the concept I was able to share small steps that assisted her recovery and have ensured a significant change in her lifestyle, but we also found that our relationship became much stronger.  On reflection I saw an opportunity to create a platform where people in similar situations could embark on the same mission with the outcome of improving their health and wellbeing. So, I began to formulate the idea which meant creating an app which was a combination of activity tracking and social media."

Ross began to develop his idea in his 1st year at University, setting up and meeting a range of relevant parties, including app development companies, marketing agencies and lawyers, while enhancing his business knowledge. His initiative was also boosted by support from academics and the skills gleaned from his studies, an ideal grounding for helping to launch his business idea.  "I found it beneficial, some of the modules gave me a greater depth of knowledge and allowed me to continue to develop skills important for entrepreneurism. The greatest inspiration came from (are they lecturers?) Chris Hughes, Gregg Doncaster, David Haycock and Jack Sugden. Their support gave me the confidence to push my business forward while studying. I took a lot of inspiration from their positive comments, their genuine interest in giving me strong mentorship as and when I needed it. The fact there was also lots of presenting and group work in my course also gave a great balance between educational achievement and the development of the required professional skills post University."

Pactive was launched on 21 December 2018 at an event held at his old School, Scarisbrick Hall, where he had been head boy. It attracted 120 people including the app's VIP early access users, health authority representatives, family and friends. "Our numbers continue to grow, and we have had some fantastic stories from our users of the transformations that they have received. The goal that has been set is to improve the health and wellbeing of 1 million people."

A key development to the app which will allow collaboration with health authorities, local Councils, charities, businesses and educational establishments, is well underway. "The idea is that these partnerships will act as motivation for our users to get involved and earn rewards for wellbeing improvements they make. They will work with 'Pacts' (a challenge the user is part of), created by charities to raise awareness and donations. Also, pacts created by Health Authorities and Councils will be working to engage users in driving the social inclusion and cohesion of communities who will be working together to enhance the wellbeing of the population within their care. I also see an opportunity to maintain my relationship with Edge Hill by working together to develop the idea for students and alumni." noted Ross.

Ross, who earned a high achiever's scholarship ahead of University, believes students should use their time wisely, while also aiming for self improvement. "I found that having a 'purpose,' combined with my education gave me greater focus and satisfaction. It's always easier to do what you love, so it never feels like work. If you know the profession you want to move into then ensure every day, you are taking the correct steps that develop your skills. I found that networking, for example, using sites like LinkedIn, were beneficial to begin to develop connections and conversation with people in your sector or with a shared 'purpose,' which gave me a big head start while undertaking my studies."

Ross's future plans revolve around growing the business, as well as a position at Scarisbrick Hall School, as a Strategic Sport Development Officer.  Ross' app is available on the Apple app store and Google Play and is free to use.

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