An initiative set up to tackle the problem of holiday hunger in Scotland’s largest city provided more than 130,000 meals to almost 15,000 youngsters.
Glasgow City Council launched the Children’s Holiday Food Programme for the seven-week summer holidays.
Now a report has found the scheme “improved the health and well-being of children and young people across the city, as well as supporting their families”.
A total of 97 different organisations received just under £838,000 in funding, allowing them to run activities for children and provide up to three meals a day.
Some 14,674 youngsters benefited, while a total of 131,508 meals were served up during the break.
The report said: “Depending on the model of project there was a mixture of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks served.
“Some organisations only provided one meal per day, while others provided two and some three per day.”
The initiative was backed by the Voluntary Action Fund (VAF), which worked with organisations wanting to become involved, assessed applications and distributed the funding.
A report by VAF for Glasgow City Council found the the programme was “very much welcomed and praised by all the organisations who applied and received funding”.
It added: “The fund was described as not only valuable but essential and has been appreciated by families.
“Organisations felt that it helped reduce the stigma around food poverty during the school holiday as the fund was universal to all children.
“This allowed children to be treated and seen as equals.
“They acknowledged that the fund delivered food in a dignified way, with the focus being on fun summer activities rather than on the food.
“As the food and activities were offered for free, it enabled more children and young people to attend along with their families.
“Organisations stated that the fund has improved the health and well-being of children and young people across the city, as well as supporting their families.”
It continued: “There has been a feeling of communities coming together, barriers being broken down and children, young people and their families integrating with others, when normally some would be socially isolated.
“This fund has helped to build equality and relationships within the community.”
The scheme also operated in the October break and Allan Gow, the council’s treasurer, said it hoped to repeat it in the February and Easter holidays next year.
He said: “Feeding your family over the holidays is a very real worry for many in the city.
“This programme has not only helped to alleviate food poverty but it also reduces the stigmatism around those who suffer from it by being inclusive to all of the city’s children.
“It helps to build equality and relationships within the community.
“The evaluation work has shown the programme to have numerous associated benefits to the children attending, their families, the wider communities in which they run and even in the organisations themselves.
“I’m pleased that work is progressing to make funds available for the mid-term holidays in February and looking ahead to next Easter.”