NLC plans to tackle hunger

Many children go hungry without access to school meals
Many children go hungry without access to school meals

North Lanarkshire Council aims to provide free meals for children in low income households every day of the year.

The “Food 365” programme would cover the 175 days of the year when pupils are not at school during weekends and school holidays.

A pilot project will take place in Coatbridge during the spring break, and could be extended to cover the whole of North Lanarkshire in time for the summer holidays.

Councillor Frank McNally said: “These proposals to tackle weekend and holiday hunger are the most ambitious in the country.

“Research has suggested pressure on food banks doubles during the holidays, as North Lanarkshire has one of the highest concentrations of deprivation in the country this is only going to be exacerbated by further welfare reforms.”

National research shows almost a third of parents with incomes under £25,000 skip meals during school holidays so that their children can eat and nearly two thirds are not always able to afford food outside of term time.

Councillor McNally said: “A good diet plays a key role in healthy growth and development, supporting learning and social skills and sets a positive habit to be continued later in life.

“Our plans will do much to promote healthy eating and address some of the symptoms of poverty for children who need it most.”