While many children from low-income families are entitled to free school meals during term time, there is currently no such provision during holidays which can lead to families being plunged into food poverty and insecurity.
Local voluntary sector organisations ‘fill the gap’ in some parts of the country, however it is not universal.
In 2017 a report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on hunger found that children were returning to school in a worse educational, health and developmental state than that in which they had left in the summer.
The report found that as many as three million children face the risk of going hungry over the six-week summer break.
It also cited research estimating that the loss of free school meals adds between £30 and £40 per week to parents’ outgoings during school holidays, which add up to around 170 days in the year.
In May, the Department for Education (DfE) awarded 11 projects across the country a share of £9.1m, including two in Yorkshire, Bradford’s Transforming Lives for Good and the Leeds Community Foundation.
Nadhim Zahawi, Minister for Children and Families, said the aim was reach 50,000 of the most disadvantaged children across the country.
However, charity bosses and education leaders have called on the Government to come up with a more long-term solution, as food aid providers report an increase in demand from families during the holidays.