It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Stringer. I thank Ruth Smeeth for securing this important debate.
In Scotland, there are approximately 170 non-school days a year when children cannot access free school meals, putting a lot of pressure on low-paid families that rely on them. The absence of a free school meal for children can cost families on low incomes between £30 and £40 per week. The Trussell Trust has warned that food bank use spikes not just in the Christmas period but during the summer. As we have heard, in 2017, 593 organisations running holiday clubs across the UK provided more than 190,000 meals to more than 22,000 school-age children.
As we have a bit of time, I have some stats from the Glasgow South West constituency, where activities like those happening in other hon. Members’ constituencies are taking place. Southside Housing Association delivered its Southside Summer Connections programme this year in Cardonald in the Glasgow South West constituency. The housing association delivered the programme as lead partner, along with Hillington Park parish church. This year’s funding was awarded from the Glasgow children’s summer food programme, which is funded by Glasgow City Council. The housing association based the programme on the model it used in the previous two years, providing a breakfast club with free healthy breakfasts and activities on two days a week over the school summer holidays.
The housing association delivered 12 sessions. A total of 311 individuals—112 adults and 199 children—attended or benefited from the programme. Based on attendance figures, the housing association provided a total of 1,182 healthy breakfast meals. There was an average of 99 participants at each session. The programme cost £4,800 for food and activities, and was backed by 17 volunteers from Hillington Park parish church and the housing association. I thank those 17 volunteers for their remarkable work.