STAFF and pupils in Basingstoke are backing a £5m scheme aimed at giving youngsters a fulfilling future. 

Tesco’s Stronger Starts grants will help schools and children’s groups provide equipment for healthy activities or nutritious food and healthy activities, such as breakfast clubs or snacks, to support young people’s physical health and mental wellbeing.  

Customers can support their local school and children’s groups by dropping the Tesco blue token they receive at checkout into the relevant voting box as they leave the store. 

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The Stronger Starts scheme, supported by UK community charity Groundwork, will replace the current Tesco Community Grants funding programme.  

Recent research from Groundwork found that 78 per cent of schools are currently having to provide food for children from their own budget. The Stronger Starts research found that over half (51 per cent) of parents agree that their child struggles to concentrate at school if they do not have breakfast. 

Tesco UK CEO, Jason Tarry, said: “Helping schools and children’s groups access the food and resources they need is vitally important in getting children a stronger start in life. Children with enough food have more energy, better concentration, and ultimately achieve more too. 

Basingstoke Gazette: Tesco’s Stronger Starts grants is supported by Kiss FM presenter Jordan BanjoTesco’s Stronger Starts grants is supported by Kiss FM presenter Jordan Banjo (Image: Tesco’s Stronger Starts grants, canva)

“As a business that is at the heart of communities across the country, we know that urgent action is needed to support the development and prospects of young people. We hope our initiative will help families that are struggling to keep children fed and active.”

Schools and children’s groups will be able to apply via Groundwork for a grant of up to £1,500. Grants are for activities that focus on providing food to kids such as fruit for breakfast clubs or snacks to enjoy throughout the day, and for equipment for outdoor and indoor activities.

Groundwork’s UK chief executive, Graham Duxbury, said: “Since 2016, working with Tesco, we’ve supported more than 50,000 groups making life better in their local communities. Recently we’ve seen how schools and other groups supporting young people have been playing a much bigger role in ensuring children are getting a healthy start to the day and getting access to spaces and services to support physical activity and mental health.

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“Family budgets are tight and school budgets are tight, but it’s so important that children stay fed, fit and focused, so we’re delighted to be able to prioritise these activities in the new Stronger Starts programme.”

Stronger Starts is being supported by Kiss FM presenter Jordan Banjo, who said: “It’s hard for kids to dream big when they’re hungry but by nominating your local school or children’s group, you can make a massive difference to the lives of thousands of youngsters.”

Successful applications will go to a customer vote in their local Tesco store. Two out of the three blue token voting boxes by the checkout will be dedicated to local schools with the third given over to local community projects nominated by each store’s colleagues. Customers can then choose which of the three projects they’d like to support by voting with a blue token.