Action taken to combat the scandal of holiday hunger

Hungry child cropped

A public petition was the catalyst for a programme to feed children afflicted by food poverty

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16th June 2017 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

A public plea for action to feed children affected by holiday hunger has been successful – and will see hundreds fed over the summer.

South Ayrshire Council has announced it will act following a petition demanding something be done to make sure kids have nutritious meals outwith term-time.

Now children in Ayr North and Girvan will be able to get free lunches during the summer holidays as part of a wider activity programme.

In July 2016, a petition was lodged by St Paul’s Justice and Peace group for the council to provide free meals in local communities during the holiday period for children who are entitled to free school meals.

Last summer St Columba’s Church in Ayr provided sandwich lunches. This year, a six-week project will be open to all children in the pilot project areas.

This will begin at the end of June and an application for £10,000 has been made for South Ayrshire Council’s allocation of funds from the Lintel Trust, with the money expected to cover the costs.

In Ayr North the council will work in partnership with St Columba’s Church in Lochside to provide up to 500 healthy packed lunches daily for those children and young people taking part in the council’s summer activity programme and some third sector initiatives.

While in Girvan the authority will use a mixture of in-house and external catering staff to provide packed lunches for up to 70 children and young people taking part in council summer programme activities and some activity organised by Girvan Youth Trust.

The Ayrshire project is part of a wider and growing movement to feed children in poorer communities outwith term-time.

As TFN revealed, schools in Glasgow are to open to feed children and families affected by food poverty over the summer holidays.

A pioneering project to combat hunger in the city has been expanded, with seven schools now taking part.

They will open up over the summer break to tackle the phenomena of holiday hunger and to ensure that families which find themselves in need when term-time free school meal ends can access food and support.

Children In Scotland’s Food, Families, Futures (FFF), scheme will offer lunch, activities, free play and trips out.

The project was piloted in Dalmarnock and Ibrox in Glasgow over weekends and during the past year FFF has worked with two schools in eastern Perthshire and Irvine in North Ayrshire – all areas experiencing significant levels of child poverty.

The schemes have found themselves over-subscribed, with demand outstripping capacity by 60% in some cases.

Speaking about the Ayrshire project, Councillor Douglas Campbell, leader of South Ayrshire Council, said, “We’re committed to delivering for communities across South Ayrshire and this new project is a great example of looking at new ways of working to help give our children the brightest possible future.

“Tied into existing activities taking part this summer, this additional support will help feed and nurture our children and young people, at a time when many families struggle to make ends meet.

“I’m sure this positive pilot will be warmly welcomed, with the move set to make a real difference to the lives of children and young people this summer.”