YOUNGSTERS can improve their football skills and enjoy free food and refreshments this half-term as part of efforts to combat food poverty in York.

Tackling food poverty and isolation has become a key priority for York City Football Club (YCFC) Foundation, and with the support of their community sponsors, Benenden Health, its Footie Fun and Food Holiday Clubs are going to be offered at Tang Hall Community Centre.

A spokeswoman for the Foundation said: “Schools are a key institution for both young people and their families alike, with opportunities going far beyond education, including participating in sport and being physically active, as well as provision of a proper school meal. With 170 non-school days a year, these Footie Fun Holiday Clubs are a vital offer to cover the gap in provision and are ideal to ensure that children can get out, engage with friends and help to remove some of the pressure that the holidays can add to families.”

The Footie Fun and Food sessions will feature games and activities, including football, for ages four to 11, at Tang Hall Community Centre on Fifth Avenue on Monday and Tuesday.

These fun sessions are suitable for all abilities, and snacks, fruit and drinks are provided to all young people. They are open to families living in the Tang Hall area.

Nikki Taylor, corporate social responsibility and engagement coordinator at Benenden Health, said: “This is a great opportunity for children who wouldn’t have access to activity in half-term to get out, make new friends and access food provision if needed.

Paula Stainton, YCFC Foundation Manager, added: “We have been running this project for over a year in Clifton, and are delighted to be able to expand it to the Tang Hall area thanks to the support of Benenden Health. We are looking to make these a regular feature for Easter and May half-term with the help of Purey Cust Foundation, Tang Hall Big Local, and Tesco Askham Bar. We are excited to be working closely with the team and volunteers at Tang Hall Community Centre who have great local knowledge and expertise, and already do some amazing work in the wider community to tackle holiday hunger with their Picnics and Breakfast Clubs.”

Claire Douglas, chair of trustees at Tang Hall Community Centre, said the sessions are a great chance for children to learn from professionals.

She said: “We’re over the moon to welcome YCFC Foundation for two days during half-term. It’s a great opportunity for boys and girls from our community to try a new sport or develop their footballing skills further and meet new friends. We’ve also got a Tradition Games Club on Saturday, 23, from 2pm to 4pm, Big Local Picnic on Wednesday 27th, noon to 2pm, Big Local Breakfast Club on Friday 1, 9.30am to11am and TAPTY Messy Play 10am to 11.30am during half term week, so lots of free activities to keep the whole family entertained during half-term.”