Plans are in place to ensure that East Dunbartonshire's most vulnerable children and young people* are able to enjoy a healthy lunch and a programme of fun activities over the summer break.
In an extension to the Council’s existing Snack and Play programme, which has been running since 2017, different schemes are being rolled out this year to ensure that Primary, Secondary and Additional Support Needs pupils can take part in age appropriate fun and enjoy nutritious meals during the school holidays.
The summer of fun is being funded by the Scottish Government as part of its commitment to extend free school meals and enhance summer holiday provision. It will be delivered by the Council’s Education Service, supported by EDLC Trust.
Kicking off on Monday 28 June for five weeks, eligible families can benefit from:
- Snack & Play summer camps at six hub schools**, running from 10am-3pm offering children sporting activities, outdoor pursuits and arts & crafts as well as lunch.
- Playschemes in Campsie View and Merkland Schools for pupils with additional support needs, running from 10am-3pm offering children and young people sporting activities, outdoor pursuits and arts & crafts as well as lunch.
- Free access to leisure facilities and activities organised by Youth Development Workers and a £20/week payment for secondary aged young people to cover the cost of lunch.
To be eligible, at least one of the following criteria must be met:
- Children are from low income households
- Children have been shielding during the pandemic
- Children or young people are care experienced
- Children have been identified as vulnerable by their school.
The holiday provision ends on Friday 30 July. In addition, parents/carers of all eligible children and young people will receive a payment of £20/child to cover lunches throughout the summer period from 28 June to week beginning 9 August. Schools return on Thursday 12 August.
Joint Leader of East Dunbartonshire Council, Andrew Polson, said, "Young people have had an incredibly tough time since schools closed during the first lockdown in March 2020, having to adapt to remote learning and missing out on so much. School offers children so much more than academic lessons - it is a place to build friendships, find support, enjoy new experiences and have fun!
"By providing these free and varied summer activities, we are giving those children and young people an opportunity to catch up on a little bit of what they have missed. Skilled staff will lead them in sports and outdoor activities as well as arts & crafts for the creative minds. We hope to give them a summer to remember and contribute in some way to helping them recover from the challenges of the pandemic."
Joint Leader of East Dunbartonshire Council, Vaughan Moody added, "The economic impact of the pandemic will be felt in our communities for some time to come as we begin a gradual recovery process. Working families have been among some of the hardest hit and our aim this summer is to ensure that no child goes hungry when they are not at school.
"When they are taking part in activities, our youngest school-aged children will enjoy a nutritious and tasty lunch to fuel their play. Eligible families with children of all ages will receive weekly cash payments to cover the cost of lunch throughout the summer break. This takes the worry off the shoulders of parents/carers and should see an end to holiday hunger."
* Please note that applications were sought via schools with a closing date of Friday 4 June 2021. If families were not aware of the application process and believe they are eligible they should speak to their child(ren)'s Headteacher(s).
** The six summer hub schools are Clober Primary in Milngavie, Colquhoun Park PS in Bearsden, Holy Trinity PS in Kirkintilloch, Lairdsland PS in Kirkintilloch, St. Machan's PS in Lennoxtown and Thomas Muir PS in Bishopbriggs.