Around 50,000 disadvantaged children will be offered free meals and activities over the upcoming summer holidays, funded by £9.1 million from the Department for Education.

The scheme follows a successful £2 million programme in the summer of 2018, which saw charities and community groups provide meals and activities such as football, play sessions and cooking classes for more than 18,000 children across the country.

To build on that, ministers have more than quadrupled the funding ahead of summer 2019 so that even more disadvantaged children can benefit.

The 2019 programme will help the Department for Education continue to research how it can best support children eligible for free school meals during the holidays, testing a new model in which local co-ordinators oversee and fund clubs in their areas.

The 11 co-ordinators receiving a share of the £9.1 million are:

  • StreetGames (Newcastle, North East region)
  • Edsential (Chester and Cheshire West, North West region)
  • Transforming Lives for Good (Bradford, Yorkshire & the Humber region)
  • Happy Healthy Holidays consortium (Birmingham, West Midlands region)
  • Barnardo’s (Leicestershire, East Midlands region)
  • Suffolk County Council (East of England region)
  • Family Action (Croydon, London region)
  • The Romsey School (Hampshire, South East region)
  • Plymouth County Council (South West region)
  • Gateshead Council (North East region)
  • Leeds Community Foundation (Yorkshire & the Humber region)

The co-ordination role will be undertaken by a wide range of organisations, including a school, local authorities, community foundations and charities, all working with a range of local providers to ensure the clubs reach the children who need them most.

Activities on offer this year will include a range of sports, healthy cooking classes for children and their parents or carers, as well as targeted support for the most vulnerable families who may already be working with social services.

This announcement builds on a government investment of up to £26 million in the National School Breakfast Programme, delivered by the charity Family Action in partnership with Magic Breakfast. This is helping to set up or improve more than 1,700 breakfast clubs in schools in the most disadvantaged areas, ensuring thousands more pupils have a healthy start to their day.