600 Bolton kids per day get free lunch from town's first food bank for youngsters

Rob Balfour, from Urban Outreach, ready to deliver some of the free packed lunches

Rob Balfour, from Urban Outreach, ready to deliver some of the free packed lunches

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

HUNDREDS of hard-up families have been claiming free packed lunches every day from the town’s first food bank for youngsters.

The scheme — set up to feed the poorest school pupils over the summer holidays — has been hailed as a “brilliant success” after an average of 600 children per day received a free lunch.

Bolton charity Urban Outreach enlisted an army of volunteers over the summer break to make and distribute the picnic lunches to thousands of children across the town.

The BL14 lunch project was put together in a matter of weeks after concerns were raised about what would happen to the 9,000 children in Bolton who receive free school meals once the summer holidays come around.

The charity’s chief executive, Dave Bagley, said: “The issue is that for many of these families they rely on free school meals.

“When they are receiving them for most of the year they perhaps don’t factor the summer holidays into their budget.

“Some might say that may be they should budget for it, but we are not here to judge, we are purely here to help the children. It is not their fault and it is their human right to have a lunch.

“The project has been absolutely brilliant. We have had some nice feedback from the kids who seemed to thoroughly enjoy their sandwiches.”

Figures released by Kelloggs this month claimed one in eight youngsters were not getting a square meal every day without free school lunches or breakfast clubs.

The report said more than a third of teachers noticed pupils lost weight during the summer holidays.

Food bank charity the Trussell Trust backed up the findings and said demand for emergency supplies rose by 21 per cent last August.

Mr Bagley said the majority of families using the lunch project were those with low income working parents, including many on zero hours contracts.

He added: “They are the people hurting the most because, at least with benefits, you know when the money is coming in.”

Latest figures show a 19 per cent increase in the number of people admitted to hospital with malnutrition over the past year.

Health chiefs put the rise down extreme poverty and the increased use of food banks.

Last year, food banks in Bolton fed more than 10,000 people in just six months and an average of 1,970 people used food bank vouchers every month.

Alex Malone, project manager for the Farnworth and Kearsley food bank, said she had seen a rise in usage of the food bank over the summer.

She said: “Our figures show that an extra 71 people used the food bank across June and July and I think many of these were families that were used to having free school meals.”

Urban Outreach is still looking for donations towards the cost of the scheme and volunteers to help make the lunches for the next week.

Anyone who can help can call 01204 385848 or email winterwatch@urbanoutreach.co.uk

Comments (12)

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11:44am Thu 28 Aug 14

Janch1 says...

So free lunches when not at school? Since when has it stopped being a parental responsibility to feed your children? Why are these "parents" relying on free handouts all the time? Maybe if they spent less on cigarettes, alcohol, fancy mobile phones, designer clothes, sunbeds and holidays abroad then they could feed their children themselves. I assume if these free meals weren't handed out then the whole family would go without eating? I don't think they would somehow. It is no wonder people don't take responsibility for themselves any more when they know everything is given to them for nothing. If they can't afford to feed their children then stop them breeding. It is a vicious circle that will never change. They breed then claim benefits, breed again and claim even more benefits and expect society to keep them. Sad state of affairs but I feel it has gone too far now to ever be any different.
So free lunches when not at school? Since when has it stopped being a parental responsibility to feed your children? Why are these "parents" relying on free handouts all the time? Maybe if they spent less on cigarettes, alcohol, fancy mobile phones, designer clothes, sunbeds and holidays abroad then they could feed their children themselves. I assume if these free meals weren't handed out then the whole family would go without eating? I don't think they would somehow. It is no wonder people don't take responsibility for themselves any more when they know everything is given to them for nothing. If they can't afford to feed their children then stop them breeding. It is a vicious circle that will never change. They breed then claim benefits, breed again and claim even more benefits and expect society to keep them. Sad state of affairs but I feel it has gone too far now to ever be any different. Janch1
  • Score: 19

12:36pm Thu 28 Aug 14

giraffe89 says...

Janch1 wrote:
So free lunches when not at school? Since when has it stopped being a parental responsibility to feed your children? Why are these "parents" relying on free handouts all the time? Maybe if they spent less on cigarettes, alcohol, fancy mobile phones, designer clothes, sunbeds and holidays abroad then they could feed their children themselves. I assume if these free meals weren't handed out then the whole family would go without eating? I don't think they would somehow. It is no wonder people don't take responsibility for themselves any more when they know everything is given to them for nothing. If they can't afford to feed their children then stop them breeding. It is a vicious circle that will never change. They breed then claim benefits, breed again and claim even more benefits and expect society to keep them. Sad state of affairs but I feel it has gone too far now to ever be any different.
Whilst I agree with a lot of this - there are people who are holding down steady, well paying jobs and decide to have children as they can support them. Then unfortunately, through no fault of their own, find themselves jobless - trying to survive on a pittance of Welfare Benefits and simply cannot afford to buy food once all the essentials have been paid.

Open your eyes and see that not everyone is a freeloader. Most people avoid these places out of shame and embarrassment.
[quote][p][bold]Janch1[/bold] wrote: So free lunches when not at school? Since when has it stopped being a parental responsibility to feed your children? Why are these "parents" relying on free handouts all the time? Maybe if they spent less on cigarettes, alcohol, fancy mobile phones, designer clothes, sunbeds and holidays abroad then they could feed their children themselves. I assume if these free meals weren't handed out then the whole family would go without eating? I don't think they would somehow. It is no wonder people don't take responsibility for themselves any more when they know everything is given to them for nothing. If they can't afford to feed their children then stop them breeding. It is a vicious circle that will never change. They breed then claim benefits, breed again and claim even more benefits and expect society to keep them. Sad state of affairs but I feel it has gone too far now to ever be any different.[/p][/quote]Whilst I agree with a lot of this - there are people who are holding down steady, well paying jobs and decide to have children as they can support them. Then unfortunately, through no fault of their own, find themselves jobless - trying to survive on a pittance of Welfare Benefits and simply cannot afford to buy food once all the essentials have been paid. Open your eyes and see that not everyone is a freeloader. Most people avoid these places out of shame and embarrassment. giraffe89
  • Score: 18

1:22pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Djorkaeff's right peg says...

giraffe89 wrote:
Janch1 wrote:
So free lunches when not at school? Since when has it stopped being a parental responsibility to feed your children? Why are these "parents" relying on free handouts all the time? Maybe if they spent less on cigarettes, alcohol, fancy mobile phones, designer clothes, sunbeds and holidays abroad then they could feed their children themselves. I assume if these free meals weren't handed out then the whole family would go without eating? I don't think they would somehow. It is no wonder people don't take responsibility for themselves any more when they know everything is given to them for nothing. If they can't afford to feed their children then stop them breeding. It is a vicious circle that will never change. They breed then claim benefits, breed again and claim even more benefits and expect society to keep them. Sad state of affairs but I feel it has gone too far now to ever be any different.
Whilst I agree with a lot of this - there are people who are holding down steady, well paying jobs and decide to have children as they can support them. Then unfortunately, through no fault of their own, find themselves jobless - trying to survive on a pittance of Welfare Benefits and simply cannot afford to buy food once all the essentials have been paid.

Open your eyes and see that not everyone is a freeloader. Most people avoid these places out of shame and embarrassment.
I agree in one respect. It wouldn't be the right response to stereotype and castigate every family who had to rely on food subsidies as there are some genuine cases. Having said that though, I do believe that the majority of these people will have never worked or sought suitable employment or education in order to help sustain their families. What I find completely perplexing too, is that some families will continue to multiply, living in poverty and deprivation knowing full well they are dependent on these meal tickets and the perks that come with it. I will never understand this logic and these are the families that should be penalised. There should be new initiatives for bone idle fathers of Threes and Fours to take up employment and training or lose their privileges.
[quote][p][bold]giraffe89[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Janch1[/bold] wrote: So free lunches when not at school? Since when has it stopped being a parental responsibility to feed your children? Why are these "parents" relying on free handouts all the time? Maybe if they spent less on cigarettes, alcohol, fancy mobile phones, designer clothes, sunbeds and holidays abroad then they could feed their children themselves. I assume if these free meals weren't handed out then the whole family would go without eating? I don't think they would somehow. It is no wonder people don't take responsibility for themselves any more when they know everything is given to them for nothing. If they can't afford to feed their children then stop them breeding. It is a vicious circle that will never change. They breed then claim benefits, breed again and claim even more benefits and expect society to keep them. Sad state of affairs but I feel it has gone too far now to ever be any different.[/p][/quote]Whilst I agree with a lot of this - there are people who are holding down steady, well paying jobs and decide to have children as they can support them. Then unfortunately, through no fault of their own, find themselves jobless - trying to survive on a pittance of Welfare Benefits and simply cannot afford to buy food once all the essentials have been paid. Open your eyes and see that not everyone is a freeloader. Most people avoid these places out of shame and embarrassment.[/p][/quote]I agree in one respect. It wouldn't be the right response to stereotype and castigate every family who had to rely on food subsidies as there are some genuine cases. Having said that though, I do believe that the majority of these people will have never worked or sought suitable employment or education in order to help sustain their families. What I find completely perplexing too, is that some families will continue to multiply, living in poverty and deprivation knowing full well they are dependent on these meal tickets and the perks that come with it. I will never understand this logic and these are the families that should be penalised. There should be new initiatives for bone idle fathers of Threes and Fours to take up employment and training or lose their privileges. Djorkaeff's right peg
  • Score: 6

1:45pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Diamonintherough says...

My child gets free school meals due to being a low income family but not once have i taken my child anywhere near these free meals during the summer holidays i do find it very difficult to believe that parents cant feed their children. When we was kids we got basic jam or cheese sandwiches might not be a packed lunch but it did the job so how can any family not afford around £2 a week for bread and jam or even cheese squares which are probably like what 60p a pack.
My child gets free school meals due to being a low income family but not once have i taken my child anywhere near these free meals during the summer holidays i do find it very difficult to believe that parents cant feed their children. When we was kids we got basic jam or cheese sandwiches might not be a packed lunch but it did the job so how can any family not afford around £2 a week for bread and jam or even cheese squares which are probably like what 60p a pack. Diamonintherough
  • Score: 14

2:05pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Terry McC says...

You don't take your kids for these free meals they just pull up on the street in what the consider a poor area and start handing them out to the kids ive seen it was amazed firs rule don't take sweets of strangers but these do gooders think they have the right to not once have they asked if the people on these estates if they want it. so don't blame the kids taking it they didn't ask are your mummy and daddy in full time employment with no sky non smokers and got all their tattoos spelled correctly would have been better spent making shure the kids have something to do in the to long holidays
You don't take your kids for these free meals they just pull up on the street in what the consider a poor area and start handing them out to the kids ive seen it was amazed firs rule don't take sweets of strangers but these do gooders think they have the right to not once have they asked if the people on these estates if they want it. so don't blame the kids taking it they didn't ask are your mummy and daddy in full time employment with no sky non smokers and got all their tattoos spelled correctly would have been better spent making shure the kids have something to do in the to long holidays Terry McC
  • Score: 1

2:10pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Diamonintherough says...

Well then there must be two of these projects running since the free packed lunches are taken to sure start centres were ANY family can ask for them. I've not heard of the handing them out to streets one before now.
Well then there must be two of these projects running since the free packed lunches are taken to sure start centres were ANY family can ask for them. I've not heard of the handing them out to streets one before now. Diamonintherough
  • Score: 3

2:14pm Thu 28 Aug 14

SRGUK1 says...

I find it sad that 600 children in Bolton have had to rely on free school dinners in the school holidays. It isn't the children's fault - poor little mites.
I find it sad that 600 children in Bolton have had to rely on free school dinners in the school holidays. It isn't the children's fault - poor little mites. SRGUK1
  • Score: 5

3:30pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Djorkaeff's right peg says...

Terry McC wrote:
You don't take your kids for these free meals they just pull up on the street in what the consider a poor area and start handing them out to the kids ive seen it was amazed firs rule don't take sweets of strangers but these do gooders think they have the right to not once have they asked if the people on these estates if they want it. so don't blame the kids taking it they didn't ask are your mummy and daddy in full time employment with no sky non smokers and got all their tattoos spelled correctly would have been better spent making shure the kids have something to do in the to long holidays
Nonsensical gibberish if I'm honest.
[quote][p][bold]Terry McC[/bold] wrote: You don't take your kids for these free meals they just pull up on the street in what the consider a poor area and start handing them out to the kids ive seen it was amazed firs rule don't take sweets of strangers but these do gooders think they have the right to not once have they asked if the people on these estates if they want it. so don't blame the kids taking it they didn't ask are your mummy and daddy in full time employment with no sky non smokers and got all their tattoos spelled correctly would have been better spent making shure the kids have something to do in the to long holidays[/p][/quote]Nonsensical gibberish if I'm honest. Djorkaeff's right peg
  • Score: 2

9:44pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Frotage says...

I can only assume its me but i do find it a bit over the top when phrases like 'extreme poverty...' are used to refer to children in Bolton. Certainly, there are some parents who have a a bit of struggle financially. Its tough for some there is no doubt but extreme poverty...really? Kids sleeping on the streets in South America, starving on the African continent or being brought up in slums in India or Pakistan maybe, but in Bolton?
I can only assume its me but i do find it a bit over the top when phrases like 'extreme poverty...' are used to refer to children in Bolton. Certainly, there are some parents who have a a bit of struggle financially. Its tough for some there is no doubt but extreme poverty...really? Kids sleeping on the streets in South America, starving on the African continent or being brought up in slums in India or Pakistan maybe, but in Bolton? Frotage
  • Score: 2

9:26am Fri 29 Aug 14

Djorkaeff's right peg says...

Frotage wrote:
I can only assume its me but i do find it a bit over the top when phrases like 'extreme poverty...' are used to refer to children in Bolton. Certainly, there are some parents who have a a bit of struggle financially. Its tough for some there is no doubt but extreme poverty...really? Kids sleeping on the streets in South America, starving on the African continent or being brought up in slums in India or Pakistan maybe, but in Bolton?
You make a valid point.
[quote][p][bold]Frotage[/bold] wrote: I can only assume its me but i do find it a bit over the top when phrases like 'extreme poverty...' are used to refer to children in Bolton. Certainly, there are some parents who have a a bit of struggle financially. Its tough for some there is no doubt but extreme poverty...really? Kids sleeping on the streets in South America, starving on the African continent or being brought up in slums in India or Pakistan maybe, but in Bolton?[/p][/quote]You make a valid point. Djorkaeff's right peg
  • Score: -1

3:33pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Love Bolton says...

There are some very malnourished children in our borough.
There are a lot of families balancing the books extremely carefully. I know lots of working families who are really close to the bone, just about balancing how late they can get away with each bill as they deal with another bill. Just because people are not wearing a badge to say they work and are really poor, doesn't mean they are not skipping meals to feed the kids.
Yes there are some rubbish parents too - who don't prioritise their children.
My money is on the biggest rise in rickets and olden day poor diseases will happen here in Bolton.
Surely as a community we should welcome this initiative? At least our children will be marginally less malnourished?
There are some very malnourished children in our borough. There are a lot of families balancing the books extremely carefully. I know lots of working families who are really close to the bone, just about balancing how late they can get away with each bill as they deal with another bill. Just because people are not wearing a badge to say they work and are really poor, doesn't mean they are not skipping meals to feed the kids. Yes there are some rubbish parents too - who don't prioritise their children. My money is on the biggest rise in rickets and olden day poor diseases will happen here in Bolton. Surely as a community we should welcome this initiative? At least our children will be marginally less malnourished? Love Bolton
  • Score: 4

6:38pm Fri 29 Aug 14

timbertwo68 says...

If people are really that poor then fair enough, just can't see it with our generous welfare state. Oh P.S please make sure they are not carrying top of the range mobile phones, expensive tattoos and piercings etc.
If people are really that poor then fair enough, just can't see it with our generous welfare state. Oh P.S please make sure they are not carrying top of the range mobile phones, expensive tattoos and piercings etc. timbertwo68
  • Score: -3

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