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Belfast City Council to spend quarter of a million on school breakfast clubs

It is part of the Belfast City Council’s £1m hardship fund package to support 120 school-run breakfast clubs and offer healthy snacks and free school dinners

Councillor Paul Doherty
Councillor Paul Doherty Councillior Paul Doherty with goods headed for school breakfast clubs

A Belfast councillor has hailed a City Hall drive to spend £250,000 on school breakfast clubs

SDLP West Belfast councillor Paul Doherty has welcomed a council funding initiative addressing food poverty at schools across the city.

Councillor Doherty helped secure £250,000 in funding as part of the Belfast City Council’s £1m hardship fund package to support 120 school-run breakfast clubs and offer healthy snacks and free school dinners.

Councillor Doherty said: “It’s hard to underestimate the difference that this funding is making in schools across our city. I have spoken with many teachers who have seen more and more children going hungry as poverty has increased across Belfast and the North as a whole and that’s reflected in the uptake with over 120 clubs accessing this funding to help provide children with access to food as part of the school day.

“This policy has marked a difference to the way our council approaches poverty. We have empowered these schools to take direct action by supporting them with the funding to tackle these issues at their root.

“By working together we were able to channel this funding to those who really need it and where it can do the most good. This is a significant improvement from previous years.”

He added:  “This support was a key demand of my Right To Food campaign and because of this funding there are now thousands of children benefitting. It’s heartbreaking to think of any child being left hungry, but the only way we will solve these problems is by tackling them head-on.

“With the return of the Assembly, we need to look towards universal free school meals and the reinstatement of holiday hunger payments. The SDLP will keep working until everyone has access to the food they need and to build on the success of this scheme.”