Parents of children in Salford who receive free school meals will be given shopping vouchers to stop them going hungry over the summer holidays.

The £30 food vouchers will be available through the city mayor’s Salford Assist programme which helps people facing a crisis or emergency.

Some 8,500 children qualify for free school meals in the city.

The town hall will spend up to £150,000 on the scheme.

Salford-based Booths charities have made a ‘significant’ donation to support the project, the council has said.

A menu of healthy holiday activities, which includes free healthy snacks and lunches, has been drawn up by the town hall, Salford Community Leisure, local schools and community groups.

 

Deputy city mayor Coun Paula Boshell said: “Free school meals guarantee children a healthy, nutritionally balanced meal every day and some parents may struggle to find extra cash for lunches during the holidays.

“Council budgets are tight but we want to offer those most in need some support to help them through the long summer break. The vouchers are enough to provide a daily lunch of sandwiches, soup and a piece of fruit for each child.

“We’re very grateful to the Booth Charities for their generous support of the scheme.”

Parents of children in reception classes and primary school years one and two will need to claim certain benefits to qualify for the food shopping vouchers. Parents of older children who receive free school meals will automatically qualify.

The town hall had hoped to receive government funding for an extended programme of free holiday clubs for children receiving free school meals in Salford.

But a bid to the department for education proved unsuccessful, so this is the council’s alternative provision.

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Families who do not qualify for the free school meal shopping voucher scheme and need short term support to meet basic needs such as baby items, food, gas or electricity or essential furniture may be able to get help from Salford Assist.

The scheme can also refer people for help with debt, affordable loans and affordable energy.

Last year the scheme helped just under 4,000 Salford residents.

‘Holiday hunger’ has been a growing issue in recent years; last summer in Salford, a ‘food bank for children’ was set up to help deal with the problem.