‘30 fam­i­lies couldn’t feed their chil­dren in school hol­i­days’

Rochdale Observer - - NOSTALGIA - Ste­fan.jajecznyk@reach­plc.com @sja­jecznykMEN

AT least 30 fam­i­lies in re­ceipt of free school meals have said that they were not able to feed their chil­dren dur­ing the school hol­i­days.

In a mo­tion sub­mit­ted to a meet­ing of Rossendale coun­cil last Wed­nes­day, Whit­worth Coun­cil­lor Alan Neal and Facit and Shaw­forth Coun­cil­lor Tom Al­dred out­lined the plight of Val­ley fam­i­lies who have told them their chil­dren re­ceive free school meals and that dur­ing the school hol­i­days they can­not af­ford to feed them.

The pair have asked that the coun­cil write to Lan­cashire County Coun­cil and the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Lo­cal Coun­cils as well as cen­tral gov­ern­ment to seek help and ad­vice.

They said: “We wish to ex­press our con­cerns that dur­ing the re­cent six weeks school hol­i­days there has been con­tact from a num­ber of fam­i­lies who have been strug­gling to feed their chil­dren since the in­tro­duc­tion of Uni­ver­sal Credit.”

Coun Al­dred added that food­banks have been fac­ing ex­tra pres­sure as a re­sult of fam­i­lies strug­gling. He said: “This, to me, in one of the wealth­i­est coun­tries in the world, is a dis­grace and if there’s any­thing that can be done then it ought to be done as a mat­ter of ur­gency. I’m sure the same hap­pens at half term, at Christ­mas and at Easter as well.

Out­side of the meet­ing, Coun Neal said: “They are not peo­ple who have, say, ‘life­style is­sues’; we are talk­ing about peo­ple where the hus­band or wife goes out to work.

“My con­cern is that if this is the prob­lem in Whit­worth is there a prob­lem through­out Rossendale? There is some­thing wrong with so­ci­ety when peo­ple are strug­gling to feed chil­dren. The chil­dren are ba­si­cally go­ing hun­gry.”

With Univesal Credit due to be rolled out in the rest of Rossendale in Novem­ber, Coun Neal ques­tioned whether sim­i­lar is­sues would be faced by fam­i­lies else­where in the Val­ley. He said: “If we have got a prob­lem in Whit­worth we have a prob­lem bor­ough­wide.”

In re­sponse to the coun­cil­lors’ mo­tion, Coun­cil Leader Alyson Barnes vowed to have the au­thor­ity’s of­fi­cers look into the is­sue too.

She said: “I just think its an ap­palling state of af­fairs that young chil- dren are go­ing back to school and they weigh less than when they started out.”

Twenty-seven coun­cil­lors voted in favour of the mo­tion, with Coun­cil­lors Cheetham and Kostyan ab­stain­ing.

●●Coun­cil­lors Alan Neal (left) and Tom Al­dred high­lighted the plight of Val­ley fam­i­lies

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.