Council chief praises ‘heroic’ efforts to tackle holiday hunger

Cllr David Alexander
Cllr David Alexander

Fife Council co-leader David Alexander has praised the “heroic” volunteers and charities who stop children from the poorest households going hungry during the school holidays.

As part of Fife Council’s Food in Fife, a number of programmes have been provided for locals, which includes meals and snacks for children and their families.

There are several schemes in most areas ofthe region, for families from all different background.

David Alexander said: “Food banks are reporting a massive increase in demand and in many cases the public and others are responding heroically.

“School holidays, though,  are a particularly worrying time as many children get free school meals.

“This gap has been recognised and there are schemes throughout Fife running over the Summer holidays which includes snacks and meals for families.

“These are provided by charities, voluntary groups and the third sector who are doing an excellent job.

“The communities of Fife do tend to react to address local problems, and I think over the short term we will see more local initiatives taken to combat an increasing problem.”

The council co-leader has called on the Government to step up, saying that the introduction of Universal Credit is having a big impact on communities.

“It’s a damning indictment today that people and children go hungry in one of the richest countries in the world. However, they do.

“The reasons are numerous, from losing a job to being unable to pay bills. Universal credit has a huge impact.

“Fife Council rent arrears are rising at £100,000 per month.  This is reflected throughout Scotland. If people can’t afford to pay their rent what else is going unpaid?”

In Cowdenbeath, Food for Families provides fresh food to any family living in Dunfermline, west Fife, Benarty and Lochgelly during the school holidays. No referrals are needed and the only requirement is that households have children of school age or under living with them.

Also in Cowdenbeath the Cardenden Play Scheme, Cowdenbeath Play Scheme and the Kelty Play Scheme are run by Fife Childcare Services. Families should contact the school’s head teacher for referrals.

In Dunfermline, the Tower House Summer Programme is a free summer programme for young people, primary six to S2, with activities including music, arts and crafts, and sports. It runs daily until August 7.

The Tryst Centre Summer Programme runs every Thursday 10.30am-2.30pm for children in primary six and seven. The Dunfermline Play Scheme is run by Fife Childcare Services and should be referred by the school head teacher.

In Glenrothes, a holiday activity club will run for children aged five to 12 living in Dovecot, Warout and Auchmuty. It will run Monday to Friday and free lunch and activities will be provided.

Collydean Granary Baptist Church are running a lunch and activity scheme daily from 12pm, which will offer free meals to anyone who receives free school meals, or offer them at a price of £1.50 to others.

The Holiday Space Academy is a holy club running from July 23-27. It is open to children in primary school, providing lunch at 12pm and activities from 1-3pm.

The Glenrothes Play Scheme is by referral from the school’s head teacher.

Ladybird Nursery will offer family fun sessions to vulnerable children up to eight years old – although older siblings won’t be turned away. It includes food, outings and arts and crafts.

Pupils at Southwood primary can get a free meal three times a week at St Ninians Community Cafe, with a voucher distributed by the school.

In Kirkcaldy, the LinkUp Children’s Summer Programme offers a free hot lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11.30am to 1.30pm.

Outdoor Adventures and Creations provides a club on Wednesdays from 11am to 3pm

The Cottage Cafe provides free hot and cold meals for families on low income with children up to 16 years on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays the cafe will provide packed lunch bags.

The Happy Days Community Hub allows children to eat for free at lunch time on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The Dysart St Clair Church Summer Club provides free breakfasts and lunches on Tuesday and Thursdays until August 2.

In the Levenmouth area, the Fife Gingerbread School Holiday Events fun days take place throughout the school holidays in parks and sports centres, giving families the chance to get out and enjoy free activities and free lunches.

Picnic in the Glen provides family picnic and fun activities, 12.00pm to 2.30pm on Wednesdays over summer holidays.

Emma Oneill , Local Democracy Reporting Service