A project in Kirkcaldy has been showing how children and young people benefit from nutritious meals and a place to play and socialise when schools are closed for the holidays.
Active Kids, based at Kirkcaldy YMCA, has been running for several years providing support, stability and a range of fun-based educational activities for local children aged five to 14.
Today it was the venue for a funding announcement by Scottish Government communities secretary Aileen Campbell who revealed £340,000 would be allocated from the Scottish Government’s recently increased budget for six national charities that offer children breakfast, healthy snacks and a hot lunch as well as a range of games and activities during the school holidays.
The charities receiving the funding are: Achieve More Scotland (£42,460), Cash for Kids (£100,000), Centrestage (£8,411), Children in Scotland (£119.747), Dundee Bairns (£40,000) and Community Food Initiatives North East (£26,165).
You might also be interested in:
Speaking at a morning visit to the YMCA’s Active Kids project in Kirkcaldy, Aileen Campbell said: “While we provide free meals to children in P1 to P3 and to those on low incomes throughout their time at school, we know it can be a struggle for some parents to provide meals and keep children entertained when their school takes a break.
“The school holidays should be a time for fun. This funding will allow projects working in rural and urban areas across Scotland to deliver fun activity programmes for children and young people in the school holidays and include healthy nutritious meals so no child goes hungry.”
She added: “This year we have committed to increase spending from £500,000 to £2 million to help support local authorities and the third sector to tackle food insecurity during the school holidays. The extra money will be a huge benefit to families who need it the most.”
The YMCA@s Active Kids scheme supports over 200 children a year who have a range of additional support needs.
The programme is available to participants referred through a range of partners including: Social Work Services, Integrated Community Schools, Education, Aberlour and Family Matters.
Robert Main, honorary treasurer and company secretary at the YMCA, said the varied programme takes place in both the YMCA and the local community.
He said the space within the YMCA is used daily for activities such as cooking and baking, arts and crafts, sports, DJ workshops and other recreational activities such as pool, gaming and listening to music. All the activities arranged in and outwith the YMCA aim to be both fun and educational to offer children a new experience and opportunity to learn in a safe and secure environment.
Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance has been involved with the town’s YMCA since he was 18: “This is a fantastic facility for youngsters in the Kirkcaldy area. It provides great opportunities, not just at Easter, but throughout the other school holidays, all in a secure environment.”