More Scottish families to benefit from 'holiday hunger clubs'
Thursday, June 1, 2017
A programme in which schools provide food and support to families in need during the summer holidays has been expanded, following a pilot of the scheme.
From next month, seven schools in Glasgow and two in West Dunbartonshire will remain open to offer children and families lunch, activities, free play and trips out as part of the Food, Families, Futures (FFF) programme run by charity Children in Scotland.
Food will be supplied by Children in Scotland’s project partner Brakes.
It follows a pilot of the programme last year, in which two schools opened summer holiday clubs everyday throughout July to offer meals and activities to families that struggle financially without free school meals. The programme proved 'overwhelmingly popular', with one club being oversubscribed by 60 per cent.
Early findings from an evaluation of summer holiday clubs across the UK, including those involved in the FFF programme last year, will be presented at a Children in Scotland conference held in Glasgow today (Thursday 1 June).
The evaluation, led by Professor Greta Defeyter of Northumbria University, found children who attended summer clubs showed greater improvement in reading over the summer compared to those who did not attend.
Under the FFF programme, over the past year Children in Scotland has also worked with two schools in East Perthshire and Irvine in North Ayrshire, both areas with high levels of child poverty.
Jackie Brock, chief executive of Children in Scotland, said, ‘Children in Scotland is very pleased to be working with communities throughout Glasgow on this vital project. We have to bear in mind, however, that increased interest in FFF also reflects increased need, with schools throughout the city telling us that there are more children and families urgently requiring help over the summer.
‘Through FFF we will do our best to respond, and alongside our partners ensure that we make inroads fighting food poverty and delivering the summer holiday experiences children in these communities deserve.
‘Any school that needs to run holiday clubs as part of their wider work to tackle inequalities in children's health, well-being and learning should be supported to do so. We believe our FFF project can contribute to that ambition.'
Maureen McKenna, executive director of education at Glasgow City Council, said, 'The outcomes from last year's FFF pilot were so positive and encouraging, and I'm delighted that many more of our families in need across the city will benefit this year as well.
'The beginning of the school holidays is a joy to so many but creates additional, unwanted pressure to people experiencing food poverty. This worthy initiative will help reduce some of this stress for families across Glasgow.'
Further details about the Glasgow schools taking part in the FFF programme will be announced later this month.