'Break Free' tackling holiday hunger through sport

The Break Free project is helping to combat holiday hunger in deprived areas of Bristol by offering young people a wide range of accessible sporting activity alongside healthy meals.

The initiative is led by Community of Purpose, a local Community Interest Company, and youth work charity Youth Moves, with delivery supported by a web of local partners and funders. Together they achieve social impact through sport and youth work.

"During the school holidays, young people who usually qualifiy for free school meals can often go hungry," Community of Purpose CEO Amy Kington told ConnectSport.

"By mobilising the support of local businesses we are providing meaningful diversionary activities for the youngsters, and in doing so ensuring that they get fed and watered."

Community of Purpose provide diverse sport activities and, thanks to local donations, can offer huge inflatable targets and pitches which enhance their football, rugby, cricket (through Wicketz), tennis, baseball and dodgeball offerings.

The partnership with Youth Moves enables the delivery of music, team-building activities, excursions, theatre (through Tobacco Factory) and much more. Feeding Bristol and The Park are also key partners, Bristol Water have donated a van, while local businesses Friska, Hobbs House and Arthur David provide food for nutritious meals many of the young participants would otherwise be denied.

Community of Purpose work in 32 local primary schools and have strong links with Foster Care Associates so are able to easily identify young people to invite on to the programme.

"Sport is the golden thread that runs through all our activity," says Kington. "Sport inculcates values of respect, tolerance, fair play, communication, problem-solving and teamwork. These are vital life skills and it connects all the dots.

"We only work in the areas nobody else really wants to come into! We're purely about going into the communities that need help. At least 60% of our young people are below the poverty line.

"It gives us great satisfaction to know that kids we've delivered to that day have been fed, watered, been really safe and have had a wicked time."