Student Food Foundation Youth Ambassadors from The Halifax Academy cohosted and spoke at the first ever Sustain Children’s Food Summit in Leeds, coordinated by the Children’s Food Campaign.
The five students from Years 7, 9 & 10 were engaging and knowledgeable hosts, sharing their first-hand experiences of healthy food access, their free school meals campaigning work and their ideas on how to build a fairer, healthier children’s food system.
The event brought together leading voices from the world of children’s food and health, who are striving to enable access to healthy nutritious food for all children, regardless of their background.
Subjects such as school food, early years, fiscal measures, healthy food advertising and diversity & inclusion were explored in detail through guest speakers and workshops. The Yummy/Yucky Awards ceremony recognised inspiring local initiatives and unshakeable political campaigners, as well as business baddies, with their unethical food marketing tactics.
The conversations that are being had and the decisions that are being made on these vitally important issues that affect young people so deeply, do not usually involve young people. Our students having this opportunity for their authentic, unedited voices to be heard and potentially influence policy writing is huge. These young people are brilliant and we are so proud of them.
We work hard to help our students to find their own voice, teaching them how to speak with clarity and conviction, how to listen carefully and how to take part in powerful and productive conversations. It is wonderful to see them taking their confidence and skills forward, campaigning for change and making a real positive impact in the world.
Fiona Black – Community Connections Project Coordinator and teacher at The Halifax Academy
The students became Youth Ambassadors through their work with the Food Foundation and have presented to MPs, academics, teachers and business people during National School Meals Week on why free school meals are so important. They have also appeared on BBC Look North, speaking about food poverty and the work of The Halifax Academy’s Community Connections project.
The Youth Ambassadors are busy with various roles inside and outside of The Halifax Academy, being pro-active, making a positive difference and supporting others. Groups they are involved with include: Community Connections – maintaining the community garden and distributing food made in the community kitchen; extra-curricular food groups; Calderdale Youth Council and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme.