Councils are coming together to support a foodbank scheme which aims to see no child in Allerdale go hungry this summer.
This summer the North Lakes Foodbank – which supports communities across Allerdale – will be running a Summer Foodpacks – A Helping Hand scheme, providing free food for secondary school age children who are in receipt of free school meals across the borough.
Eligible families will be contacted by their school in the coming weeks.
The foodbank already runs a Lunchpacks 4 Kids scheme which supports eligible primary and junior aged school children.
To enable the vital scheme to go ahead Allerdale Borough Council will be providing funding of £11,000, while Cumbria County Council will be adding a further £4,000 towards the programme.
It is estimated that about 1,200 bags of food will be packaged with the parcels supporting approximately 350 to 400 children over a six-week period.
These will then be given out to eligible families through a voucher scheme at the foodbank centres in Wigton, Cockermouth, Maryport and Workington.
As well as a financial contribution Allerdale BC is also supporting the charity with extra transport and encouraging staff to help with the programme through its volunteering scheme.
Marion Fitzgerald, Executive member for policy, governance and people resources at Allerdale BC, said: “The work the foodbank does locally is of great value to our community in helping some of our most vulnerable residents get access to food.
“As a council we were keen to support this scheme to make sure our young people get proper meals throughout the summer when we know many families who rely on free school meals can come under pressure.”
Mike Johnson, deputy leader, said: “It’s important that everyone in our society has access to the food they need and that’s why we’ve not hesitated to offer our support.
“This scheme is also a great example of different organisations coming together to support those in need in our communities.”
Cllr Deborah Earl, county council cabinet member for public health and local communities, said: “This is a fantastic example of another community project delivering support to our most vulnerable residents.
“The council’s Community Development Team is working closely alongside the foodbank and others in the area to ensure people are able to access the help they need in their communities. Once again, I’d like to thank everyone involved in supporting Cumbria through COVID19.”
Adrian Cozens, Project Manager for the North Lakes Foodbank, said: “We are pleased to be working closely with the councils to continue to help target food to those families who are most in need.
“Unfortunately we have seen a sharp rise during the last 12 months in the number of families and children coming to foodbank centres for support at a point of crisis in their lives. This is an example of community support at its best.”