School meals all year long will combat holiday hunger

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​Free school meals outwith term time should be offered by local authorities to combat "holiday hunger"

17th July 2015 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

A charity is calling for children to get free meals even when they’re not in school.

Children in Scotland made the call saying “holiday hunger” is a worsening problem in Scotland and across the UK.

Foodbanks and community projects are reporting increases in families seeking food for their children in non-term time, the charity warned.

Chief executive Jackie Brock said: “Last week’s budget targeted further welfare cuts at our poorest families. Scotland has gone a long way to address hunger for young children during term-time, but we now need to focus on how we can support families during holidays when pressures are most intense. 

We need to look to sustainably funded projects at a local authority or community level - Jackie Brock

“Poorer families will find feeding their children, and finding childcare and holiday activities, very difficult and stressful. We must do more to support them.”

Around 135,000 children receive free school meals as a result of the Scottish Government’s commitment to provide them for all P1-3 pupils, which saves families at least £330 a year per child.

Brock added: “Scotland has policies in place on food and wellbeing, as well as Curriculum for Excellence, that make us well-placed to make a change.

“Alongside a coordinated and strategic response to poverty and hunger, we need to look to sustainably funded projects at a local authority or community level that can offer meals out with term-time.”

The charity is currently running a programme across three local authorities encouraging schools to offer a free and nutritious meal as part of a wider range of activities for children and their families. 

The programme is based in schools with high deprivation levels but provision is available to all in the school.