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Funding struggle for projects which feed children during holidays

Photo: ITV News

rojects which provide free lunches to children in deprived areas across the region say they're struggling to get enough funding.

The Juice Community Project in Cadbury Heath feeds up to 30 children a day, but failed to gain central Government funding this year - one of dozens of schemes across the West which missed out.

It means thousands of families who qualify for free school means in term time - are left without support in the summer holidays.

One parent who's children claim free lunches three times a week in Cadbury Heath said, "we cope at this time of year just about, but projects like this really help. It's a massive help."

Janice who runs the Juice Suffolk who founded the Community Project said "parents are struggling with the whole stress of the summer holidays. Six weeks is a long time if you have three or four children at home. For some of them it tips them over the edge."

"The foodbank and feeding children in the summer are two projects in this day and age that I wouldn't expect we'd have to run."

1.1m
How much money the Government spends on free school meals.
£9m
How much money the Government is spending this summer to tackle 'holiday hunger'.
50,000
The amount of children that £9 million will provide meals for.
Credit: ITV News

The Government is spending more money to tackle the issue of hunger during the holidays, but it provides only a tiny of fraction of meals for children who normally qualify for free school meals.

As a result projects are relying on grants from local authorities, many of which are struggling financially, and the donations from the public and the business community.

In Bristol more than £100,000 has been raised to go into summer holiday clubs. A fundraising effort that has been co-ordinated by the City Council but required businesses to step in.

Credit: ITV News

The result can be seen at FareShare's warehouse in St Jude's, where huge fridges and freezers are packed full of food for up to 200 projects across the South West.

This is all surplus food donated by supermarkets and caterers, and many of the staff here are volunteers. Without it, many holiday clubs would not exist.

"Feeding Bristol, a charity set up by Bristol City Council, pulled together a city wide response to raise enough funding for school children during the holidays", said Julian Mines of FareShare South West.

Without support from the Government many projects are completely reliant on donations and volunteers, meaning many more families are missing out altogether.