Ayr church to deliver food to children during summer holidays

An Ayr church is working with the local authority to ensure that 250 vulnerable children do not go hungry this summer.

Agnes Smith and Annmarie Waggstaff
Volunteers Agnes Smith and Annmarie Waggstaff prepare food for young people involved in the Lochside Mission and Outreach youth clubs

St Columba’s Church in Lochside has partnered with South Ayrshire Council to offer free packed lunches to children for six weeks of the school holidays starting on Monday 3 July.

The local authority will provide food and contribute £5,000 to help support Lochside Mission and Outreach’s work with children and teenagers.

Dylan Harper, the church’s youth worker, said 150 packed lunches will be delivered to children at four church sites in North Ayr.

He added that deliveries would be courtesy of the Stagecoach bus company, which has donated two buses to the church.

Around 8o church members and local people volunteer with the youth project.

Mr Harper said: “We are delighted to partner with South Ayrshire Council and we are very thankful to Stagecoach and everyone who is supporting the Lochside community.

“Thanks to them and our fantastic volunteers we can ensure that no children in North Ayr will go hungry this summer.”

Lochside is among the 40 poorest communities in the country while at the same time the St Columba’s parish as a whole is among the wealthiest.

Last year St Columba’s Lochside Mission and Outreach youth programme provided more than 150 lunches daily to local children after church staff learned that the 95% of children in one local primary school, who receive free school lunches and breakfasts during the school term, were at risk of hunger during the summer holidays,

St Columba’s supports the highly popular youth project in Lochside, which offers a range of summer activities for children from primary school age to young people in high school.

South Ayrshire Council is also supporting a food project in Girvan that will feed around 70 children a day.

Council leader Douglas Campbell said: “We’re committed to delivering for communities across South Ayrshire and this new project is a great example of looking at new ways of working to help give our children the brightest possible future.

“Tied into existing activities taking part this summer, this additional support will help feed and nurture our children and young people, at a time when many families struggle to make ends meet.

“I’m sure this positive pilot will be warmly welcomed, with the move set to make a real difference to the lives of children and young people this summer.”