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'Holiday Hunger' rising faster in the North East than anywhere else in the country

'Holiday Hunger' is rising in the North East Credit: ITV News

The number of children and families facing hunger over the holidays will rise faster in the North East than anywhere else in the country.

Most schools break up for the summer holidays on Friday and there are concerns that many children will go hungry over the holidays, suffering so-called 'holiday hunger'.

Demand for food parcels from foodbanks during the holidays - when there is no access to free school meals - is rising faster in the North East than anywhere else in the country.

7664
The number of food parcels handed out last summer by The Trussell Trust.

Last summer, The Trussell Trust handed out 7664 emergency food parcels. That represented a 26.4% increase from the same period for 2017.

Helen Hedges said she'd saw parents who had gone hungry to feed their kids Credit: ITV News

A third of the people the Redcar Area Foodbank feeds are children. The manager of the foodbank likened some of the things she'd saw to that of a third world country.

Helen Hedges, manager of the Redcar Area Foodbank, said: "The majority of people that we get coming to the foodbanks at the moment are actually working. They have two or three low-paid jobs or zero-hours contracts and it doesn't cover the bills.

We have had families, I've seen them in here where they have gone without food for three or four days to feed the children. You see a lot of things abroad in third world countries. It's (poverty) is happening here in this country.

– Helen Hedges, Redcar Area Foodbank
Theresa May in her first speech as Prime Minister Credit: ITV News

When Theresa May first came to power three years ago, following the resignation of David Cameron after the EU referendum fallout, she promised to help those who were "just about managing".

The government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few but by yours.

– Theresa May

In her penultimate appearance at Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday, Theresa May was asked if she would continue holiday activity funding.

Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West, said: "If she (May) wants a meaningful, lasting legacy will she extend the holiday activity funding to ensure that all children who receive a free school meal during term-time are fed in the holidays?"

Sharon Hodgson MP during Prime Minister's Questions

In response the Prime Minister said: "We had a successful £2m program in the summer of 2018 and this year we are more than quadrupling this funding.

Ms Hodgson, in a Tweet, said she was disappointed by the Prime Minister's reply to her efforts to secure government commitment on holiday activity funding.

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Some of the funding the Prime Minister did announce will be distributed in the North East. In Gateshead, one activity centre has received £200,000 to put on activities - and feed - the children who attend over the summer.