Council chiefs 'committed to removing inequality' as holiday hunger scheme set to launch in South Tyneside
Council chiefs say they are ‘committed to removing inequality in South Tyneside’ as a scheme to make sure children don’t go hungry in the school summer holidays is being launched.
The council is to provide free meals at centres across the borough for three days during the middle four weeks of the long school holidays to ease the pressure on struggling families.
The council already supports voluntary organisations which supply holiday meals through training and the loan of kitchen equipment. This scheme will further enhance the provision and complement the work of the third sector.
Councillor Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “Despite our best efforts the latest report from the End Child Poverty coalition shows that over a third of children (34.5%) are living in poverty in South Tyneside. This is a figure that I am determined to change.
“As a council we are committed to removing inequality in South Tyneside and eradicating child poverty is a key element of that.
“South Tyneside has been unfairly treated by central government and has borne the brunt of government cuts. Not just to our local government grant, but across the board.
“Hard working families are feeling the strain.
“Since Universal Credit was introduced and the eligibility for free school meals changed, it is difficult to really know how many families are struggling to put food on the table.
“However, we know from the work that we do with families and with schools that there are many working parents who cannot access certain benefits who are often the most financially vulnerable.
“These people - along with the almost a quarter of families on free school meals - struggle with the costs of good food and activities when schools are closed.”
There will a mix of picnic – style food and hot food available depending on the day.
The meals will be provided at the following venues: Biddick Children’s Centre, Horsley Hill Children’s Centre, Boldon Children’s Centre, Whitburn Children’s Centre, Marine Park Children’s Centre, Riverside Children’s Centre Simonside Climbing Wall, Hedworthfield CA and Jarrow Focus.