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New pilot to tackle food poverty during school holidays

Credit: PA Images

A new 'holiday hunger' pilot scheme aimed at supporting low income families during the holidays has been launched.

Backed by £100,000 of Welsh Government funding, the Holiday Hunger Playworks Pilot will enable existing community and playwork settings across Wales to extend their provision of food in areas with high levels of deprivation, where the risk of 'holiday hunger' is greatest.

The move comes as schools break up for the summer.

The pilot is designed to work alongside the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA)-led School Holiday Enrichment Programme, a schools-based initiative that provides healthy meals, nutrition education, physical activity and enrichment sessions to children in areas of social deprivation during the school holidays.

The Welsh Government says this pilot and the wider scheme aim to support families with the additional financial challenges many face during the summer months, particularly those who access free school meals during term time.

We recognise that the long summer school holidays place an additional burden on low income families, especially those who usually benefit from free school meals.

Through this pilot we will build on existing provision so that even more families can avoid 'holiday hunger' during the summer break - redressing the imbalance of food availability, health inequality and social isolation which disproportionately affects children living in poverty.

– Julie Morgan, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Care

Under this pilot, a total of £100,000 will be allocated to 13 local authority areas across Wales - consisting of £70,000 towards open access holiday play settings and other initiatives which children and young people can attend, and £30,000 for out-of-school holiday club spaces.

Suitable settings for inclusion in the pilot were identified through consultation with Wales' leading umbrella organisations for play, Play Wales, Clybiau Plant Cymru and Kids Clubs.

The pilot will run throughout the 2019 summer break.