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Fighting holiday hunger in Dumfries and Galloway

Credit: PA

Volunteers say that urgent action is needed to combat holiday hunger in Dumfries and Galloway. Several sessions have been set up to offer free meals for children in the region during the school holidays, when, the council say, many parents find it hard to put food on the table.

There are just over 4000 households in Dumfries and Galloway that meet three of the four criteria for depravation. Every child that goes to a council-run school in the region gets free meals for the first three years. This continues after primary three, but only for children whose parents are on a low income or Universal Credit.

Many families say they rely on these meals, and for the fourteen weeks a year when children aren't in school, this can be a real problem.

The Holiday Food programme is specifically aimed at providing children and young people, in primary one to S6, with one free meal per day during the school holidays.

The scheme is run by volunteers and funded by the council. Everyday this week across Dumfries and Galloway there are twelve centres handing out free meals. It's part of the council's plans to try to combat the issue, however they admit it is not viable as a long term fix, and are reviewing their strategy which is due to run out next year. Until then, these services will continue to run during the holidays.

Councillor Andy Ferguson, chair of the communities committee, spoke to ITV Border's Lewis Warner.