How a council food scheme has kept Glasgow kids fed during the holidays

Two hungry Glasgow sisters aged 11 and 8 turned up early every day to anxiously make sure there was still food available at the council’s holiday scheme last summer.

Another youngster said the children’s holiday food programme saved his embarrassment about having no money to buy a meal as lunch was provided.

The scheme saw city kids get 385,495 meals when schools closed during the summer as well as fun activities and trips away with more than 16,500 pupils taking part.

The cost of cleaning Glasgow streets is the highest in Scotland.
The cost of cleaning Glasgow streets is the highest in Scotland.
The cost of cleaning Glasgow streets is the highest in Scotland.

It sees the council work with third sector organisations to tackle holiday hunger.

It ran across the city in more than 20 areas including Calton, Govan, Dennistoun and Pollokshields.

How has the scheme helped school kids?

Explaining the impact of the free food scheme on the two sisters, a council report said: “It was clear that food provision was a central need to these young girls as they arrived early each day to make sure that food was available as they conscientiously prepared for themselves and their young sister.”

It added that both girls lacked support at home, appeared “stressed”and initially didn’t play with other children. But getting fed daily meals eased the insecurity they felt over not having enough to eat. The support they received at the holiday food programme also meant they began to relax, play and take part in activities.

Commenting on the scheme, another youngster said: “I didn’t get embarrassed by not having money to buy stuff at the shops like my pals do as my lunch bag was here every day”

Another child said “I like coming here every day – me and my wee sister only get a lunch here.”

How did the scheme work?

Community organisations delivered the Glasgow City Council food programme after receiving grants.

A monitoring report on the Glasgow Children’s Holiday Food Programme is due to be presented to councillors next week at the Wellbeing, Empowerment Community and Citizen Engagement City Policy Committee.

There was a huge huge demand for the service, which ran between June and August – with some organisations having to direct kids elsewhere.

Explaining the need for the service, which cost about £1.2 million the report said: “For many children across Glasgow, free school meals are the only nutritious, balanced meal they can rely on each day. Many low-income families are unable to afford additional food costs during school holidays.”

The Glasgow Children’s Holiday Food Programme operated in Linn, Newlands/Auldburn, Greater Pollok, Cardonald, Govan, Pollokshields, Langside, Southside Central, Calton, Anderston/City/Yorkhill, Hillhead, Victoria Park, Garscadden/Scotstounhill, Drumchapel/Anniesland, Maryhill, Canal, Springburn/Robroyston, East Centre, Shettleston, Baillieston, North East, Dennistoun and Partick, East/Kelvindale.