Children from Jessons Primary School in Dudley are set to benefit from a school holiday café pilot in Dudley town centre.
Dudley Council is working with the school, The Friends of Grange Park and a number of local organisations to run the scheme for pupils from low income households during the two weeks holiday.
Tokens, which can be used from Monday 15 to Thursday 18 and Tuesday 23 to Friday 26 April, are being given to eligible pupils for use in one of four cafés in the town centre - Gather Café, The Coffee Shop, Lunch on the Run and Bake ‘n’ Butty.
It’s hoped the scheme will give youngsters the chance to enjoy a healthy and nutritious lunch without parents needing to worry about the cost. A number of businesses and organisations have made donations to enable it to take place including Dudley Council, The Rotary, KMB Shipping Group and Black Country T-Shirts.
The council is running the pilot to see how such schemes could operate during holidays at other locations in the future. An evaluation will be undertaken with the participating cafés and parents of the children after the holidays.
An estimated 4.1million children are living in poverty in the UK. In Dudley borough, 21 per cent of children aged five to ten years live in low income households.
Martin Samuels, strategic director for people, said:
We are all too aware of the impact school holidays can have on food availability for youngsters from low income households.
This pilot is designed to see how organisations and businesses in the local community can come together to help families who may be worried about managing food costs during the Easter holidays.”
Karen Paskin, Friends of Grange Park, said:
We have organised a number of local community events to bring people together and talk about issues faced by families living in the local area and food poverty is something that has been discussed many times.
Opening up schools during holidays can be difficult so we decided to try this token scheme so that it would benefit families and businesses alike, whilst bringing people from a cross section of the local community together.”
Parents will be offered a hot drink when accompanying a child.