A PILOT scheme has been set up in a bid to stop youngsters going hungry in the school holidays.
Volunteers are bringing a national project called MakeLunch to three different venues in Colchester which allows children who are entitled to free hot school meals during term time the chance to get a healthy and tasty lunch in the holidays too.
Marie Morris, who works at Lexden Primary School, has helped organise the project along with support from church groups, councillors and other volunteers, and hopes it will make a real difference to low income families.
Mrs Morris said:“During term time lots of pupils are entitled to free school meals but during school holidays the provision doesn’t carry on.
“It leaves a lot of families struggling for money.
“This scheme aims to get hot and healthy meals at no cost to them.
“It is difficult in the summer holidays in particular because they are so long and people can struggle to find childcare or things to do with their children.
“Research shows some people will go without a meal at least once a week.
“We do not want that to happen.
“There are so many people giving up their time to try and do something about it.”
The project will be running at three different venues during the summer holidays.
Meals will be available at Myland Parish Hall every Thursday throughout the holidays, at Unity Primary School in Greenstead everyday between August 7 and August 11 and at Firstsite in Lewis Gardens every Monday and Wednesday.
As well as the meals, craft activities will be on offer at Myland Parish Hall and coaches from Colchester United will be on hand at Unity Primary Academy for children to enjoy a game after they eat.
Leaflets with details of how to register have been handed out to schools.
Volunteers have already been on a training course to ensure they can provide the meals to a suitable standard.
Mrs Morris added: “I head about MakeLunch and I thought it was something simple we could do here in Colchester.
“Usually a pilot only has one venue but the fact we have enough support for three says a lot.”
Although the sessions are mainly designed for primary school-age pupils nobody will be turned away from sessions in Myland or Greenstead.
Those attending at Firstsite will be asked to be able to prove they are eligible for free school meals and get a leaflet from their school as paying youngsters will also be attending.
To contact organisers with questions about the sessions click here and search for Colchester.