Wales

Children 'go hungry' in school holidays, says church

Boy Image copyright Thinkstock

Children in poorer areas are going hungry during holiday periods when they are not getting free school meals, the Church in Wales has said.

The diocese of St Asaph in Denbighshire has been providing packed lunches to children in Wrexham and Rhyl during the break.

About 150 meals were prepared in one day in Wrexham this week.

A church spokeswoman said: "Coverage is at best patchy and mostly non-existent."

Calls have been made for more to be done to ensure children who receive free school meals during term time are catered for during school holidays.

The Church in Wales told BBC Radio Cymru's Post Cyntaf: "With no statutory provision in place to support children in holidays... feeding children during school holidays is falling to the voluntary sector."

'Holiday hunger'

Dr Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales, said: "Our churches are based in every community in Wales and it's realised that during holiday times there are children who are going hungry because these are children who have free school meals during term time, who have no food during the holiday period."

Labour said its Welsh Government had introduced the early years deprivation grant to "support our youngest pupils from the poorest backgrounds".

Plaid Cymru said "holiday hunger" would be part of its action plan on child poverty while the Liberal Democrats said it had proposed freeing up the criteria for Communities First so local authorities could fund such schemes.

UKIP said it would support others getting involved in this work.

A spokesman for the Welsh Conservatives said: "By working with local communities, to plan a regeneration program which will focus on local organisations, to tackle poverty, we can provide new support networks across Wales."

More on this story