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Schools in deprived communities are staying open during summer to offer pupils free meals

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​Two Glasgow schools will offer lunch and activities for pupils and their families

Two primary schools in one of the most deprived areas in Scotland are staying open this summer during the school holidays to provide food aid for children.

Dalmarnock and Ibrox primaries in Glasgow are serving lunchtime meals during this year’s summer holidays, which stared on Monday, and will offer activities to children, parents and guardians who live in the local community.

The project, run by Children in Scotland, announced last December, was created in response to schools reporting that many families faced severe difficulties during holiday periods when free school meal entitlement ends or is not enough to rely on and makes up part of its Food, Families, Futures (FFF) programme.

Chief executive Jackie Brock said: “This project is about schools doing what they do best at the absolute heart of their communities – being proactive, accessible and responding to local need. Dalmarnock and Ibrox have refused to see the holiday period as any barrier to fulfilling the vital role they play in supporting children and families.

This project is about schools doing what they do best at the absolute heart of their communities – being proactive, accessible and responding to local need

“It’s also testament to the great commitment of an array of local organisations that are helping to deliver the Food, Families, Futures programme on the ground in a way that best suits these local communities.”

In Glasgow 38.8% of primary school pupils, and 29.8% of secondary pupils, are in receipt of free school meals, with Ibrox and Dalmarnock primaries having among the highest rates of entitlement in Scotland.

The heads of both schools believe the programme will offer substantial and meaningful help to families over the summer.

Dalmarnock Primary headteacher Nancy Clunie said: “We know that some of the families in our community can need extra support during the holidays, particularly families who in term time are entitled to free school meals.

“We are delighted that what is going to be on offer at Dalmarnock includes not only a free meal but the chance to feel supported, be involved in activities and get together with other local families.”

The project at Dalmarnock is a partnership with PEEK, Thriving Places and the North East Health Improvement team of Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership, with additional support from Clyde Gateway.

Ibrox Primary headteacher Fiona Young said: “Ibrox’s summer holiday club will be a focal point in the community throughout July and an opportunity for children to build on their school learning about healthy diets and lifestyles. It also means our children and families can have a delicious lunch every weekday and take part in a great range of activities including art and craft, football, dancing and trips away.”

Activities at Ibrox are being overseen by Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council.

FFF is being evaluated by Professor Greta Defeyter at Northumbria University and PhD student Jackie Woods, with early findings expected towards the end of 2016.

The programme will expand into North Ayrshire in August, with the launch of a breakfast club at Irvine Royal Academy.

 

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