Council may feed children 365 days a year

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Image caption North Lanarkshire will offer meals 365 days a year

A Scottish authorities is planning to provide school foods 365 days a year to kids from low income families.

North Lanarkshire Council mentioned its proposal would help deal with “holiday hunger”.

The particular “Food 365” programme would protect the 175 days of the year whenever lunches are not served in school.

If approved, the authorities will run a pilot project within the spring break and could then expand the scheme over the summer vacations.

Frank McNally, convener of education, said: “These plans to tackle weekend and vacation hunger are the most ambitious in the nation.

‘Parents omit meals’

“Groups such as the Trussell Trust are struggling to deal with demand from parents and studies have suggested that pressure on foods banks doubles during the holidays.

“North Lanarkshire has among the highest concentrations of deprivation in the land and this is only going to be exacerbated simply by further welfare reforms. ”

The council cited nationwide research which suggests that almost another of parents with incomes below £ 25, 000 skip foods during the school holidays so that youngsters can eat, and nearly 2 thirds are not always able to pay for food outside of term time.

This rises to fifty percent and three-quarters respectively for moms and dads with incomes under £ fifteen, 000.

Image caption Teachers survey that children sometimes return through holiday suffering from poor nutrition

In a study carried out by the National Union associated with Teachers in England, 80% of educators noted a rise in “holiday hunger” where children return from vacations suffering from poor nutrition.

Almost three-quarters of teachers stated this was negatively affecting children’s schooling.

While some councils in the united kingdom have committed to holiday programmes, these types of do not include weekends. North Lanarkshire Council said its scheme will be the most comprehensive in the country.

Mr McNally continued: “A healthy diet plays a key role in healthful growth and development, supporting learning and interpersonal skills and sets a positive routine to be continued later in life.

‘High levels of deprivation’

“Our plans will do a lot to promote healthy eating and tackle some of the symptoms of poverty for kids who need it most. ”

John Dickie of the Kid Poverty Action Group warmly welcome the proposal.

Yet he warned it was vital to give the meals in such a way that there was simply no risk of children or their families sensation stigmatised.

He mentioned: “I haven’t seen the details of this proposal but in general conditions we would welcome extension of free college meals but also stress that’s this really is important that healthy free holiday lunches are offered as part of a wider bundle of holiday activities

“Every effort should be made to prevent the risk of stigmatising holiday supply, for example by making sure it is available to those who pay for school lunches as well and isn’t promoted purely like a feeding programme. ”

North Lanarkshire is one of the nine “challenge authorities” in Scotland with the top levels of deprivation. Nearly 21% of kids live in low income households.

If the pilot works, the programme would be delivered within 23 “hubs” across the authority region, usually in community facilities.

Based on demand pertaining to other previous holiday initiatives, the price is estimated to be £ five hundred, 000.

The plans will be discussed by councillors in a meeting of the education committee upon 20 February.