Feast of Fun is a partnership of local churches, community groups and schools that offer holiday activities with healthy food across Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland.

For many families the summer holidays are a struggle with the children at home 24/7 and no free school meals. Families that are not eligible for free school meals also struggle during other school holidays, with the weekly budget stretching further for food and other basic necessities, with little left for activities and treats.

Starting in 2014 with 6 churches, each year Feast of Fun grows. There are now around 40 Feast of Fun groups providing lots of fun activities and healthy food for around11500 children, young people, and their families each year. This is done in person or remotely to accommodate COVID restrictions and the needs of the families. To date during the pandemic more than 200,000 meals, and activities, have been delivered to those who need them.

Our Partners

We work with a wide range of partners and funders who support Feast of Fun. For example, companies like Quorn Foods which supplies Quorn products and cooking experiences; Brake Meals & More; and the National Literacy Trust which supports reading and provides free books.

Where possible, we also aim to ensure that all the children, young people and families have the opportunity to enjoy a trip outside of their community, to places such as North York Moors Centre at Danby, The Bowes Museum, RSPB Saltholme, Kirkleatham Museum, Wensleydale Railway, MIMA and Teesside University.

Our Volunteers

We have more than 300 volunteers of all ages who give their energy and enthusiasm to support Feast of Fun. And since 2017 we have welcomed a whole new generation of volunteers, older people through Faithfully Ageing Better - people over 50, who share their time, skills and talents with the children and families to create A Feast of Fun across the Generations.

Feast of Fun is a great example of churches, community groups and schools working together to make a difference to family life during the school holidays. Children, families, and volunteers know the difference that Feast of Fun makes in the summer holidays.

Our Families

Some recent stories...

Family A is a single mum and her daughter. Mum attended the Feast of Fun provision at a Middlesbrough Church with her daughter aged 9 years. She is a single parent living in one of the most deprived wards in Middlesbrough. She said that the Feast of Fun provision had been a lifeline for her and her daughter. They had both struggled through Covid – missing social interaction with friends and family – they only had each other. She said that as soon as she was aware that sessions were going to be running, she put their names down immediately. The days when the sessions had not been on – her little girl had said what will we do today? She said her heart sank as she couldn’t afford to take her anywhere, having had no work since Covid and struggling to find work as she had no childcare. Then she remembered that the Feast of Fun group had provided them with activity packs to do at home. They spent the days doing crafts. The Feast of Fun sessions not only provided activities for them both but also allowed them to interact with others. She said to be able to sit and talk with another adult over a cup of tea and a bite to eat meant so much to her, and to see her daughter laughing and enjoying herself was amazing. One of their favourite activities was working with Quorn – who delivered an interactive workshop. The daughter tried all the challenges and thoroughly enjoyed it. Mum was even going to make one of the recipes for tea. She could not thank everyone enough for the warmth they were shown and the brilliant experiences they both had.

Family B consisted of mum, grandma, son aged 8, daughter aged 6, son aged 4 and son aged 2. The family lived together in Middlesbrough in an area high in deprivation. As a family accessing the food bank occasionally, they were told about the Feast of Fun activities that were taking place and attended as a family. All the children participated in all the activities and were smiling all the time. The children were polite and thanked the volunteers continually for their lunch. When speaking with the grandma she told us of how much they struggled as a family to ensure that the children had food and clothing. She said that her daughter struggled with her mental health and being on her own. They didn’t work and things were hard. They accessed food banks and could not believe that they could have some free items through the Feast of Fun provision. They said the toiletries supplied through Unilever and Brake Meals & More were more than they could have asked for. They attended Feast of Fun each day, absolutely loved it and were sad when it came to an end.

Family C Local family of three, with a daughter at secondary school. Mum had taken on new employment. This meant that her daughter has lots of time alone. Her parents had used up lots of leave during the year due to the pandemic and isolating periods from school. Accessing activities prevented them from having to take unpaid leave which would have meant they’d really struggle. She has attended events and they are happy because they know she is not at home alone every day. They have tried not being at work at the same time but sometimes it's just not possible. They have benefited from the support as they have no family locally.