18,000 children given free meals during summer

Activities and free meals provided for thousands of children this summer amid concerns about holiday hunger

New figures show the number of pupils who received free meals during the summer holidays

A £2 million scheme aimed at reducing hunger by providing free meals during summer activity clubs fed 18,000 children, new statistics reveal.

The ad-hoc statistics published by the Department for Education show that in total there were 93,200 recorded attendances – with many children (71 per cent) attending for more than one day.

The clubs were funded amid concerns that pupils are increasingly reliant on schools for food handouts.

About half (48 per cent) of the children attending the clubs were known to be receiving free school meals, but the true percentage may be higher as it was not known whether 31 per cent of attendees received school meals or not.

Breakfast clubs 'improve attainment'

The statistics also revealed that 49 per cent of children were primary age and 14 per cent were pre-primary. There were also 21 per cent who were in secondary or post-16 education.

The clubs were provided by seven organisations: Accord Birmingham Holiday Kitchen, Children North East, Family Action, Feeding Britain, Onside Youth Zones, StreetGames and TLG (Transforming Lives for Good).

Today’s statistics come after it was revealed last week that 500 schools had signed up for the Department for Education’s breakfast scheme.

Research published two years ago showed that breakfast clubs led to improvements in attainment, behaviour and concentration, and that even those who did not attend could benefit.

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