Rolling out plan to feed hungry children in South Ribble

Some children go hungry when there are no school meals during holiday periods.
Some children go hungry when there are no school meals during holiday periods.
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Holiday hunger programmes for schoolchildren could be extended to three more areas of South Ribble after the success of a pilot project during the summer break.

Councillors will be asked tonight to approve a £60,000 budget over the next four years to help feed youngsters who cannot access free school meals out of term.

The authority’s cabinet has been recommended to approve the scheme which initially ran as a trial in the Broadfield area and could now be rolled out in Bamber Bridge, the Kingsfold area of Penwortham and Wade Hall in Leyland.

A report to be considered tonight says: “Although we feel the pilot project was successful overall and delivered the outcomes we expected, there were areas of deprivation that the project did not cover.

“An example of this is Kingsfold which, according to the latest free school meal data, shows in some schools 42 per cent of children have access to free school meals.”

The council says the holiday hunger scheme is part of its corporate plan to tackle poverty within South Ribble.

It is looking to become a “Pantry” franchise, run by the charity Christians Against Poverty, to distribute the food during holiday periods instead of a foodbank system which many feel carries a social stigma.

Pantries charge a £2.50 weekly fee which allows members to select at least 10 items of groceries and helps them make their money go further.

“What is proposed is something new and innovative for the council,” says the report. “The Pantry proposal in particular is something different.”