What will it take to end holiday hunger?

Poverty A mother holding a child
ProjectsDecember 17th, 2018

This small-scale project aims to find new solutions to the growing problem of holiday hunger.

The Problem

Growing numbers of children across Wales do not have enough to eat in the school holidays. They either go without food altogether, or they fill up on stodgy or fatty foods.  Many teachers report that children return to school less healthy after the holidays.

The cause

Families who just about get by in school term times when children have free breakfasts and dinners struggle when faced with providing an extra ten meals per child per week in the holidays.  These and other extra costs, plus cutting down on work to look after them, leave some children without enough food. Some people estimate that families have to find an extra £30 a week outside of term time.

The solution

There are already a number of different schemes across Wales which aim to help children in the holidays. These range from emergency help, such as food banks, to community play schemes to school-based ‘food and fun’ programmes. But there are big gaps in provision with no schemes at all in some areas.

What we want to do

We want to find lasting solutions to the problem of holiday hunger so that no child goes without decent, healthy meals.  We will:

  • listen to people working with children and families about what works helping people on low incomes
  • look at solutions that tackle the root causes of holiday hunger, such as additional benefits
  • develop innovative recommendations for the Welsh government, local authorities, schools and community groups to take action.

We’re starting with a seminar on 7th February 2019.


Seminar – Solutions to Holiday Hunger

Report – Kids on the breadline: solutions to holiday hunger

Report launch event – Launch event held in the Senedd


The project has had a significant impact on holiday hunger in Wales. Among the policy changes introduced by the Welsh Government have been:

  • The expansion of the School Holiday Enrichment Programme with the investment of extra funds.
  • Investment into alternative schemes over the holidays such as play groups.
  • The provision of cash support to families in lieu of Free School Meals over the holidays. First introduced as a reaction to Covid 19 lockdowns, the support has continued to be made available to families over the holidays into 2023.
  • Increased investment into the Discretionary Assistance Fund.


This project is being kindly funded by donations from our supporters.

If you’d like to make a one-off donation towards it, please visit our Hands up Against Holiday Hunger appeal page. Thank you.


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