“Felix food has been a godsend and without it we would see some of the worst effects of austerity. Food and play here at the adventure playground mean we can offer a safe place to come which helps children and families not to lose their minds and do stupid things when they’re desperate.” Tam, Senior Playworker, Haringey Play Association
Haringey Play Association supports children and young people’s right to play. From their base at Somerford Grove Community Project they provide a range of services to the local community and beyond. The playground is entirely free at the point of use. The Felix Project delivers food to the adventure playground every day it's open.
Tam talked to us about Haringey Play Association and food from The Felix Project.
Thinking about meals as a means for social connection and wellbeing, how important is shared eating for your clients?
"One of the things we do here at the adventure playground is help people make relationships and they get to know each other through food.
"We encourage everyone to have as much of the food as possible on site and everyone has a snack for the two hours while they’re here. The parents and children who come here are really eager to engage as much as possible, and they willingly get involved with preparing food and cleaning up. They cut up fruit and vegetables, make toasties and when we were given pizza bases they made pizza. We make sure everyone gets a Felix bag when they leave.
"We get a lot of people coming through here who are in temporary accommodation or who are refugees who speak lots of different languages. People who have just come into the country, their children often speak English before they do and they are often shy or too proud to help themselves to food. Food transcends language which is the common denominator that brings a relaxed sense of sharing and giving in the playground for the children and their parents."
Can you give an example of how our food has helped your customers?
"We didn’t have a complete programme in the past. What has happened since Felix started to supply us food is that we’ve increased our scope, which has increased our worth in community relations. We’ve started working with schools and take in children who are at risk of being excluded.
"There is frustration and desperation with Universal Credit and people can find they’re banned from having money, and then how can you eat? Families trust us because of the food, which enables us to tell them about other organisations that can assist them where they go for help and information. We’ve got to know other organisations who are supplied food by Felix and previously we didn’t have much to do with them."
If deliveries from The Felix Project stopped, how would that impact your clients, staff and operations?
"We would see a lot more hungry children if food deliveries from Felix stopped and we’d be poorer on our opening days. We have budget to feed our children on a Friday which is just enough for them and doesn’t include the parents. Felix have enabled us to feed our children every day we open, and while they play it’s also a place for the wider community to relax and eat. Some are too proud to go to a food bank, but they are happy to take away bags of nourishing food."
What would you say to others about The Felix Project's work?
"A 1000 thanks to Felix and all the suppliers who contribute food. Felix food has been a godsend and without it we would see some of the worst effects of austerity. Food and play here at the adventure playground means we can offer a safe place to come which helps children and families not to lose their minds and do stupid things when they’re desperate.”
It’s simple to get involved as a volunteer
The Felix Project’s invaluable work delivering free food to Haringey Play Association wouldn’t happen without the commitment and passion of our incredible volunteers. If you have a few hours to spare for a morning, afternoon or evening, The Felix Project loves to hear from new volunteers! Volunteering as a driver, co-driver, warehouse assistant, walker or cyclist to collect, sort and deliver food is fun, rewarding, flexible - and it’s simple to get involved.