New figures from the Trussell Trust suggest children going hungry in the school holidays is a bigger problem in the North East than any other part of the country.
The charity’s foodbanks gave out:
The problem of so-called ‘holiday hunger’ is largely attributed to the fact that, during term-times, children from many low-income families receive free school meals.
Many schools also run breakfast clubs, but they stop during the holidays – and that can exacerbate hardship, particularly during the long summer period.
Many charities, foodbanks, church groups and other organisations hold holiday clubs and provide food to those in need.
The Trussell Trust says: “voluntary organisations alone cannot stop children facing hunger” and has called on the government to do more.
“Over a third of all the food distributed by foodbanks in our network consistently goes to children, but these new figures show 5 to 11-year-olds are more likely than other children to receive a foodbank’s help. This highlights just how close to crisis many families are living.
As a nation we also must address the reasons why families with children are referred to foodbanks in the first place. We welcome the government’s decision to maintain free school lunches for children during term time – the next step must be to help families during the holidays.
Foodbanks are doing more than ever before but voluntary organisations alone cannot stop primary school children facing hunger. We are keen to share our insights with the new Government alongside other charities to inform a long-term coordinated solution to stop families falling into crisis.”
– Samantha Stapley, Operations Manager for England at The Trussell Trust
The government says the fact more people are in work enables them to move out of poverty.
“Employment remains the best route out of poverty. In the North East, employment is at a joint record high and we’re helping millions of households meet the everyday cost of living and keep more of what they earn.
We’ve doubled free childcare to help parents into work, and continue to spend over £90bn a year on support for those who need it, including those who are bringing up a family or on a low income.
Budgeting advice and benefit advances are also available for anyone who needs more help.”
– Government spokesperson