Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Shefford and Stotfold Children’s Centre supports families with free, hot meals

Monday, 6 March 2023

In the first two months of 2023, a club run by Shefford and Stotfold Children's Centre has provided food for 13 adults and 25 children.

Shefford and Stotfold Children's Centre Tea Club started in January, and has been providing free, hot dinners to families in the area. Six families have been able to access extra support through the Children’s Centre Crisis Fund – primarily helping families cover household bills and payments but with emergency support available.

One parent said:

I have been accessing food banks to feed my children, I've been fortunate to have help with my electric and gas bills through the crisis fund. Times are difficult at the minute. The staff don't judge, they welcome me and the children every week with a hot meal and extra fresh food to take home.

Another parent said:

The children's centre is my family [and] like a second home to me. It means we have a warm space to be in to have a hot cooked meal. I feel less isolated being at home as a single parent and the children enjoy new foods.

Taking place at Shefford Children’s Centre, the club is supported by donations. The children’s centre has partnered with a number of local organisations including the Need Project and Seasons Fruit and Veg to increase their access to fresh and healthy produce.

The centre founded the club as a response to the increase in the cost-of-living and identified a gap in services after school where families needed a safe place to be supported and shown how to offer meals on a budget.

As well as providing free meals, Tea Club is an opportunity for children to try new foods and ensure they are getting nutrition from a wide variety of sources.

Councillor Sue Clark, Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said:

I am pleased that families in the area are being supported by our children’s centre – this is just another example of why their services are so vital. We have put in place a variety of support to help residents with the increased cost of living, as we’re very aware about how it will impact on families in Central Bedfordshire. As well as support from our children’s centres and the Children’s Centre Crisis Fund, we have a network of Warm Spaces available, and have support available through our Household Support Fund and Holiday Activities and Food programme.

Families can access Tea Club by contacting Shefford Children’s Centre directly on 0300 300 8112. Schools and the Council’s 0-19 Team also refer families to the Children’s Centre if they are in need of additional support.

We have children’s centres in Sandy, Biggleswade, Shefford, Stotfold, Flitwick, Leighton Buzzard, Houghton Regis and Dunstable. Full details of all the children’s centres and the sessions they run are available on our Family Information Directory.

We also have a dedicated cost of living information hub on our website, which is full of information and resources that can help anyone concerned about the cost of living.