North Lanarkshire to extend holiday and weekend meals programme

North Lanarkshire to extend holiday and weekend meals programme

North Lanarkshire Council is to roll out its pilot programme to provide meals and activities at weekends and holidays.

Children in Bellshill and Wishaw will now also benefit from Club 365, the scheme that provides children entitled to Free School Meals with a meal every single day of the year.

The decision to extend the project follows a successful trial which took place over the spring holidays at four venues in Coatbridge.

“It is a sad reality that one in five children in North Lanarkshire live in poverty,” said Cllr Frank McNally, convener of education. “School holidays and weekend periods can place significant strain on the budgets of many families in our area; and research has shown this has a knock-on effect on school attainment with subsequent implications for a child’s life-prospects.

“Our ambitious Club 365 initiative won’t solve these problems overnight, but the evaluation of our trial has shown it does make a significant difference to families who need it most.”

The council will roll out the programme within this financial year, McNally said. It is the first project of it’s kind across the UK. The next phase will run from 29th June until 14th August, a total of 48 days, offered at nine hubs for three hours a day for P1 to P7 children.

The Scottish government has agreed in principal to support the programme through the Scottish Attainment Challenge initiative. The programme will eventually cover the 175 days of the year when pupils are not at school.