A new Fife Council initiative has been hailed a success after providing families in the Kingdom with thousands of free meals over the summer holidays.
Across Fife, more than 50,000 meals have been served to families at Cafe Inc, before it ended last week ahead of children returning to school.
The aim of the scheme was to provide meals and a place for families to meet up during the break. The drop-in service offered free hot meals or packed lunches, and there was no need for people to sign up or register beforehand.
One of the areas of Fife the scheme was run in was the East Neuk, with Cafe Inc operating in St Monans and Anstruther. It is estimated that around 30-40 people attended in St Monans every day, while 79 people dropped in at the Anstruther Cafe Inc on its busiest day.
Activities have also been arranged, so, as well as getting a meal, the children and parents have been able to socialise and have fun.
“We’ve had lots of different families in,” explained Caroline Berry, community education worker for Fife Council.
“For some people, it’s given them something to get up and organised for. For others, it’s been good for their kids to meet other people. For some, it’s been good for the parents to interact with other adults.
“Lots of people say ‘we’ll do things as a family’ but then they’re not meeting up with their friends, and the parents are not getting that contact with other parents.”
Caroline continued: “One mum said she was delighted it was happening because she often felt she heard about these good initiatives, but that this area gets left out. She said it’s been fantastic to have somewhere to go where she knows the kids are safe, where they can get something to eat.”
East Neuk councillor Linda Holt described Cafe Inc as “hugely worthwhile”.
She added: “It’s helped children and parents with the transition to primary and high school, and eased the shock of going back to school.
“It’s also enabled families to combat the social isolation and financial challenges of occupying children in the long summer holidays. Living in rural locations where public transport is both poor and costly aggravate these problems for many families in north eat Fife.”