North Lanarkshire Council’s ground-breaking holiday programme providing free meals and activities to pupils will be taking place during the two school breaks this April.
Club 365, which was launched last year, is for primary pupils who are entitled to free school meals and is aimed at tackling weekend and holiday hunger.
As part of the 2018/19 budget the council committed to a further investment of £1 million to the initiative after analysis of the first 12 months found that parents and pupils were overwhelmingly positive about their experiences.
Councillor Frank McNally, convener of Education, said: “North Lanarkshire is committed to tackling the scourge of child poverty, and poverty more broadly, head-on.
“Last year we became the first council to make tackling holiday and weekend hunger a priority by providing free meals, during holidays and weekends, to primary pupils who are entitled to free school meals.
“As a consequence of deepening austerity and significant reforms to welfare, more and more families are being pushed into poverty.
“Too many parents are forced to make the horrendous decision about whether to heat their homes, pay their bills or feed their children.
“Holiday and weekend hunger has a detrimental impact on children’s behaviour, cognitive development, attainment and ultimately their life-prospects.
“Our Club 365 initiative is making a big difference to families who need it most. The rollout is almost complete and we are committed to delivering the programme across North Lanarkshire’s communities.”
The programme was piloted in Coatbridge last year and has been rolled out to cover 23 hubs in Airdrie, Bellshill, Coatbridge, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth, Moodiesburn, Motherwell, Shotts, Viewpark and Wishaw.
As well as a tasty meal, pupils also get to enjoy arts and crafts activities, multi-sports games and activities.
Club 365 will run each day between 11.30am and 1.30pm during the Spring break (Saturday, March 30, to Sunday, April, 14) and Easter holidays (Friday, April 19, to Monday, April 22).
While some councils in the UK have committed to holiday programmes, these do not include weekends, so North Lanarkshire’s is the most comprehensive in the country.
North Lanarkshire is one of the nine “challenge authorities” in Scotland with the highest levels of deprivation. Nearly 21 per cent of children live in low income households.
The list of venues will be available at www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/club365.