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Perth community football club expects to provide 200 meals to children during October holidays

Jeanfield Swifts lunch club. Picture: Mhairi Edwards.

A Perth community football club expects to provide well over 200 meals to children during the October holidays.

North Muirton-based Jeanfield Swifts is holding its lunch club, allowing youngsters to have lunch and boost their mental wellbeing through football games.

Jeanfield Swifts
Attendees at the Jeanfield Swifts lunch club. Picture: Mhairi Edwards.

The lunch club is open to all youngsters in Perth and ages have ranged from five to 16.

It began in summer 2019 and has run every school holiday since, apart from when Covid restrictions disallowed.

And it is just one of many Perth and Kinross community initiatives working to help with food provision and wellbeing support.

It comes as Perth Foodbank reported a sharp 89% rise in the number of children receiving support between June and September this year compared to the same period in 2020.

‘A lot of families struggling’

Jeanfield Swifts says the lunch club is growing.

Most of the children who attend are already members of the club but others come from elsewhere in the community.

The club hopes the benefits will be twofold.

Community Liaison Officer David Reid said: “I think, particularly after Covid and lockdowns, young people’s mental health and social lives have been turned upside down.

“So the opportunity to get out, meet new people, eat some healthy lunches and play football will hopefully have a positive impact on both these aspects.

Jeanfield Swifts
Jeanfield Swifts lunch and football club.

“Also, there are, no doubt, a lot of families struggling over this time, especially going into winter.

“So for kids in the community to come along and get a free lunch, it could be a massive boost to their wellbeing.”

‘Not a long term solution to poverty’

Meanwhile, Scottish Government plans to end the need for foodbanks as a primary response to food insecurity have been published.

It sets out what is currently being done and what more the government intends to do with other organisations to tackle the issue.

Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said: “We share the same vision as food bank operators – they are not a long term solution to poverty.

“Our draft plan sets out what we will do within our powers – including introducing a shopping voucher pilot scheme – to make food banks the last port of call.”

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