Last reviewed 16 May 2022

The National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) and the charity Vitamin Angels UK are expanding the reach of their supplementary food scheme which delivers free weekly nutrient-dense foods to nurseries across the UK.

More than 1000 children from low-income families are already benefiting from the scheme which supports selected nurseries with children who are at nutritional risk.

Research shows that nurseries, particularly in deprived areas, are struggling to cover the costs of healthy food and snacks within the current funding rates. NDNA’s sustainability survey reported that 46% of nurseries operating in the most deprived areas in the UK expect to make a financial loss. In addition, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the average nursery has lost more than £26,000 over the past year due to absences or closures.

The programme now aims to expand its support to more nurseries as an increasing number of children are facing food insecurity due to the current rate of inflation and cost of living pressures.

Nutritious meals and healthy snacks are vital for the health and development of young children and the programme offers weekly deliveries of self-selected fruits, vegetables and protein-rich foods to supplement what is already provided by early years settings.

Ann Micka, Senior Program Manager at Vitamin Angels UK, said:

“With the rising cost of living including increased food and energy prices, more families face food insecurity in the UK. This was already a huge issue as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which according to the British Medical Journal, exacerbated nutritional problems associated with food insecurity including an increased risk of micronutrient deficiencies.

“These issues, coupled with the crisis nurseries face to cover running costs and the increasing price of food means it’s more important than ever to provide additional support to those children most at risk.

“Children from Manchester, Grimsby, Darlington, Scunthorpe, Wolverhampton and Leominster have benefited from our supplementary food program for years. We are pleased to have recently broadened the scheme to reach more nutritionally vulnerable children in London, Sowerby Bridge, and Middlesbrough too.”