Trussell Trust to offer free summer club for children living in poverty
by Tom Lansdell
PRIMARY school-aged kids make up half of the number of youngsters receiving supplies from foodbanks during the summer holidays, the Trussell Trust revealed yesterday.
Children between the ages of five and 11 are the most likely to require three-day emergency food supplies, the foodbank charity said.
There were over 67,500 three-day emergency food supplies given to children in July and August in 2016 — 4,000 more than the previous year — when they weren’t receiving free school meals.
Supplies given to five-to-11- year-olds accounted for 46 per cent of the total figure during the whole year ending last March, while a quarter went to under-fours and a fifth to those between the ages of 12 and 16.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner slammed the “shocking figures” and said it was “a damning indictment of the Tories’ record on child poverty.”
She said: “No parent in the UK in 2017 should be forced to rely on a foodbank to feed their child. That’s why a Labour government would extend free school meals to all primary school kids.”
Earlier this month, the government was forced to U-turn on plans to scrap free lunches for primary school infants following a huge backlash.
Trussell Trust operations manager Samantha Stapley said: “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.”
The charity said it will offer a holiday club this summer in an attempt to help alleviate the problem. It will also use trained volunteers to advise struggling parents, it added.
Ms Stapley called on the government to do more to tackle long benefit payment delays and sanctions, which are exacerbating the crisis.
“Foodbanks are doing more than ever before but voluntary organisations alone cannot stop primary school children facing hunger,” she said.
In response to the Trussell Trust’s report, a government spokesman avoided poverty concerns and instead claimed that the Tories.