13 Dec Holiday Meals – Initiatives In Scotland
Several local authorities and organisations across Scotland are running initiatives in order to try and tackle holiday hunger. Here are a few examples of the projects being run.
North Ayrshire Council
Since 2013, North Ayrshire Council has been running a holiday meals programme to try and ensure that children in poverty can get healthy and balanced meals during the holidays by opening schools up to those who receive free school meals during term time.
The scheme, however, is open to all children in the area, with those who don’t receive free school meals paying £2 to receive the school meal during the holidays. This not only ensures that the children are getting hot meals but it also allows children to see their peers from school and take part in various activities also put on by the council.
North Ayrshire’s Holiday Meals scheme is based at many schools throughout the area, specifically targeting the most deprived areas. To find out about what programmes North Ayrshire Council will be running over the Christmas period, click here.
For over a decade, East Renfrewshire Council has been running holiday feeding programmes to try and tackle the number of children in their area that are going hungry during the school holidays every year according to demand.
As with North Ayrshire Council, children eligible for free school meals are invited to the holiday feeding programme free of charge, where they will get both a free meal and free activities. However, they also offer cooking classes to secondary school pupils to give them life skills to make healthy and inexpensive meals.
When talking about the scheme with APSE, the Association for Public Service Excellence, Nicky Joiner, the catering coordinator for East Renfrewshire Council said that “We’ve worked in partnership with East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure to develop an innovative school holiday programme that allows pupils to access nutritious meals during school holidays for in excess of ten years. The cooking classes offer a safe and nurturing environment to engage children in nutrition and give them the skills to prepare healthy, tasty food and enjoy many physical activities offered. The youngsters who attend really enjoy themselves and it also provides them with the opportunity to make new friends.”
North Lanarkshire Council is currently implementing their plan to provide free school meals to children from low-income families 365 days a year through their Club 365 programme in order to try and tackle Holiday Hunger. The programme not only covers the 13 weeks of school holidays a year that pupils living in poverty have to go without healthy balanced meals but also covers weekends, making it one of the most far-reaching programmes in the whole of the UK.
North Lanarkshire has some of the highest levels of deprivation in the whole of Scotland, with almost 21% of children living in households with low income.
To find out more about Club 365, visit North Lanarkshire Council’s website at https://www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/club365