“Portadown Gets Active” A scheme to support local children and end holiday hunger

August 10, 2017

Children in Northern Ireland has just launched a scheme to support local children in Portadown.  The programme is being delivered in partnership with the community and voluntary sector, statutory agencies, local schools and local government with additional support from Craigavon based Almac Group.

The “Portadown Gets Active” programme will run throughout August and is designed to encourage young people aged between 8 and 11 to stay active during the summer months and help them understand the importance of healthy living by providing them with the skills and confidence to cook simple nutritious meals on a budget.

The programme is being held in Presentation Primary School to make the most of the school estate which would otherwise lie empty during the summer holidays.

The project was created in response to evidence that many families face severe difficulties during holiday periods when free school meal entitlement ends.  It not only provides a healthy snack and lunch, but also gives children the opportunity to take part in a range of activities and gain an OCN qualification in Healthy Living.  A total of 70 children are taking part in the programme with a further 20 older children having already taken part in a Mentoring Programme.

Pauline Leeson, Chief Executive of Children in Northern Ireland said:

“For some families, particularly those who receive free school meals, the school holidays can be a struggle. It’s not just the increase in food cost but the pressures associated with keeping children active.”

Alan Armstrong, CEO, Almac Group said: “The opportunities created by this programme are to be greatly welcomed.  It is great to see us all pull together to ensure these children receive the education and support they need to guarantee they have the skillset and ability to prepare decent, nutritious meals now and into the future.  We are proud to be supporting this initiative to help unlock the potential of all children and young people no matter where they grow up.”

The project in Portadown is a partnership between Oasis Youth Portadown, Children & Young People’s Strategic Partnership, Pathways Activities and Presentation Primary School with additional support from the Public Health Agency, food supplier Brakes UK and the Almac Group.



CiNI represents the interests of its 160-member organisations providing policy, information, training, and participation support services to members in their direct work with and for children and young people. CiNI membership also includes colleagues in the children’s statutory sector recognising that the best outcomes for children and young people are increasingly achieved working in partnership with all those who are committed to improving the lives of children and young people in NI.

The Children & Young People’s Strategic Partnership (CYPSP) is a multi- agency partnership that includes the leadership of key statutory agencies and community and voluntary organisations that have a responsibility for improving the lives of children and young people in Northern Ireland. Chief Executives represent statutory agencies on the partnership and an open call ensured senior representation of organisations from the community sector and voluntary sector.

The Almac Group is an established contract development and manufacturing organisation that provides an extensive range of integrated services to the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors globally.

Pathways is the youth engagement delivery team for the Reserve Forces & Cadets Association for Northern Ireland. The team delivers across all communities throughout Northern Ireland, has been in existence for 2 years and has delivered 62,350 places, primarily to the primary and post primary education sectors as well as a variety of community groups.

Oasis is a local community group based in Portadown who work directly with over 700 children, young people and their families on a cross community basis, including a wide range of those from minority ethnic backgrounds.

Meals & More is a charitable programme run by Brakes UK, it works with suppliers and delivery partners to provide holiday clubs across the UK.


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