Magnificent seven from Rushden help tackle food poverty on Parliament visit

Rushden Academy's Team Phoenix outside the Houses of Parliament
Rushden Academy's Team Phoenix outside the Houses of Parliament

Seven teenagers from Rushden were the only students in the country invited to take part in a conference about food poverty at the Houses of Parliament.

The group, called Team Phoenix, regularly volunteer at the Phoenix Resource Centre in Wellingborough and sort through useable food which is then distributed to food banks and night shelters.

The conference brought together representatives from charities, industry, government and education to discuss the full effect of food poverty in the UK.

The students took part in several sessions during the day but the one session that they all agreed was the most important was ‘Running on Empty’. This tackled child hunger with particular emphasis on children going to school without having access to regular and nutritious meals.

Caitlin Mitchell, one of the members of Team Phoenix, said: “We also spoke about our initiative of running a GCSE Breakfast Club at Rushden. All of us in Team Phoenix know how important breakfast is and that it helps with concentration and achievement so we wanted to help our Year 11 students by giving them the opportunity for breakfast before they sat their exams.”

Alison Smith, from cereal company Kelloggs, said: “It’s been great to hear about the Breakfast Club and the benefits Team Phoenix are giving to pupils at Rushden Academy. It was really fantastic to meet them as they’re so enthusiastic about tackling food poverty. Each student made valuable contributions to the conference, speaking with confidence and passion. I’m looking forward to the possibility of working with Team Phoenix in the future.”

Jude Goodacre, acting principal at Rushden Academy, added: “I am incredibly proud of Team Phoenix for playing such a prominent part at the conference.

“The feedback has been phenomenal with many delegates commenting on how excellent it was to learn from our students and what an inspiration they are for the young people of today.

“Team Phoenix are wonderful ambassadors for both the school and our sponsors The Education Fellowship, upholding our values to the highest standard.”