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An Investigation of Holiday Clubs and Household Food Insecurity in North East England (ref: RDF20/SWECW/DEFEYTER)

Project Description

An estimated three million children face hunger during the summer months when schools are not in session. To mitigate this situation holiday clubs have formed across the United Kingdom (UK). Research investigating holiday hunger and its impact on childhood hunger is in its infancy. As a result, some local governments and third sector organisations have called for the establishment of a central government funded programme to mitigate the impact of school holidays on childhood hunger. The absence of well-designed empirical research into holiday hunger policy is apparent. For instance, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger emphasised that there is a substantial need for additional 'robust' academically oriented research to inform and guide the future development of holiday clubs and holiday club policy across the UK. The successful PhD applicant will address this gap in the literature by building on previous research at Northumbria University to gain a better understanding of the condition of holiday hunger and the role of holiday clubs in attenuating hunger and poverty. The student will be supported by colleagues working in Northumbria’s prestigious Healthy Living Lab. For more information about the Lab and its staff please visit

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020
Start Date: 1 October 2020

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Home/EU students with a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


2020 Stretesky, Paul B., G. Defeyter, M. Long, Z. Sattar and E. Crilley*. 2019. Holiday Clubs as Community Organisations. Annuals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences. Forthcoming in Volume 686 (May of 2020)

2019 Gooseman, A., Defeyter, M.A., & Graham, P. 2019. Hunger in the primary school setting: Evidence, impacts and solutions according to school staff in the North East of England, UK. Education 3-13, Online version:

2019 Heitlinger, S., Clarke, R., Clear, A. K., Chopra, S., & Dilaver, Ö. Co-Creating Smart Sustainable Food Futures with Urban Food Growers. In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Communities & Technologies-Transforming Communities (pp. 114-120). ACM.

2019 Defeyter, G., Stretesky, P., & Long, M. A. Holiday hunger: The government must remove the inequalities in children’s access to holiday clubs. The British Medical Journal (Opinion Section): .

2019 O’Neill, K. J., Clear, A. K., Friday, A., & Hazas, M. ‘Fractures’ in food practices: exploring transitions towards sustainable food. Agriculture and Human Values, 36(2), 225-239.

2018 Long, Michael A., Paul B. Stretesky, Pamela L. Graham, Katie J. Palmer, Eileen Steinbrock & Greta Defeyter. The impact of holiday clubs on household food insecurity: A pilot study. Health and Social Care in the Community, 26 (2): e261–e269.

2018 Graham, Pam, Paul B. Stretesky, Michael A. Long, Emily Mann* & Margaret A. Defeyter. Holiday hunger: Feeding children during the school holidays. In Vicki Harman, Benedetta Cappellini & Charlotte Fairclough (Eds.), Feeding Children Inside and Outside the Home (pp. 99–118). London: Routledge and the British Sociological Association.

2018 Mann, Emily*, Michael A. Long, Paul B. Stretesky & Margaret A. Defeyter. A question of justice: Are holiday clubs serving the most deprived communities in England? Local Environment, 23(10) 1008–1022.

2017 Shinwell, J.* & Defeyter, M.A. (2017). Investigation of summer learning loss in the UK: Implications for holiday club provision. Frontiers in Public Health, 5, 270.

2016 Graham, Pamela L., Eilish Crilley*, Paul B. Stretesky, Michael A. Long, Katie J. Palmer, Eileen Steinbock & Greta A. Defeyter. School holiday food provision in the UK: A qualitative investigation of needs, benefits and potential for development. Frontiers in Public Health, 4, paper 172. [Open Access]

2016 Clear, A. K., O’neill, K., Friday, A., & Hazas, M. (2016). Bearing an Open “Pandora's Box”: HCI for Reconciling Everyday Food and Sustainability. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 23(5), 28.

* Research published with PhD students

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