The government has named 10 projects that will split £9 million in funding to run holiday food and activities programmes this summer.
The schemes are part of a pilot, now in its third year, which aims to test the impact of providing food and holiday activities to pupils in the summer months.
Some of the projects, such as StreetGames in Newcastle, Edsential in Cheshire and schemes run by Gateshead and Suffolk councils, have been selected for a second time.
Like last year, the trail is supposed to benefit around 50,000 pupils across the country, with a focus on disadvantaged children.
Launched in 2018 with an initial £2 million pilot, the government’s school holiday activities and food programme sees regional schemes bid for a slice of funding. Successful projects then run activities for pupils over the summer, and the impact is evaluated.
An evaluation of the first year’s programmes found that at least 18,200 pupils attended at least one session at one of 283 “new and existing” clubs across the areas selected. At least 49 per cent of those who did attend were free school meals recipients.
However, only 13,000 pupils attended more than one session, and just 4,500 children were recorded as attending more than 50 per cent of sessions offered at their local club. In contrast, 1.3 million pupils are eligible for means-tested free school meals nationally.
The announcement of this year’s projects comes after the government U-turned last week on its decision not to fund free school meals vouchers over the summer holidays.
Ministers announced plans for a “Covid summer food fund” after bowing to mounting pressure to continue to provide vouchers, which have replaced free school meals for many pupils during partial school closures, over the six-week break.
The projects funded in 2020
1. StreetGames, Newcastle (also funded in 2019 and 2018)
2. Gateshead Council (also funded in 2019)
3. Edsential, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Wirral (also funded in 2019)
4. Spring North, Blackburn with Darwen
5. Leeds Community Foundation, Leeds and Bradford
6. Voluntary Action Sheffield
7. Suffolk County Council (also funded in 2019)
8. Mayor’s Fund for London, Lambeth and Southwark
9. Tower Hamlets Local Authority
10. The Romsey School, Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight (also funded in 2019)