A scheme which aims to ensure the children of Hartlepool don’t go hungry this summer will begin on Monday.
The Holiday Hunger food parcel initiative, which has been launched by Hartlepool Borough Council, is aimed at families with children who are usually entitled to free school meals.
We are aware that there are high levels of deprivation in parts of our town and this scheme is designed to assist the most hard-pressed families with childrenCoun Christopher Akers-Belcher
The pilot scheme has been funded by the council’s child and family poverty reserve, and a food parcel can be applied for weekly at one of three venues across the town.
Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher, the leader of Hartlepool Council, said: “We are aware that there are high levels of deprivation in parts of our town and this scheme is designed to assist the most hard-pressed families with children.
“Children obviously miss out on school meals during the six-week summer holidays, so providing an alternative way to feed children is a priority and worth exploring through this pilot.
“The council itself is facing enormous financial challenges moving forward, but prudent financial management means that we are in a position to launch schemes such as this, which are vital to the well-being of the local community.”
Hartlepool Foodbank is putting the parcels together, and they will include access to advice and information for residents, including other support services available, such as money advice and healthy recipes.
The scheme will run from Monday until Friday, September 2, with food parcels available at West View Advice and Resource Centre, Miers Avenue (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm), Chatham Children’s Centre, Chatham Road (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm) and Owton Manor Community Centre, Wynyard Road (Monday to Friday, 10am-2pm).
Councillors have earmarked £13,000 to fund the initiative, and set aside a further £25,000 to award grants to local voluntary, community and charitable organisations to help them provide healthy food to children.
Funding applications have now been approved, and 18 organisations in Hartlepool will benefit from the grant scheme.