NORTH Ayrshire’s hugely successful holiday school meals programme has just enjoyed a record-breaking summer.

Since first being piloted back in 2013, school meals have been served up in primary schools to help alleviate holiday hunger.

And new figures show that this summer, catering staff dished out an incredible 13,500 meals to young people over the six weeks.

That’s a 40 per cent increase on the previous summer and 1,800 meals more than served during the whole of the initiative in 2016.

Councillor Jim Montgomerie, Cabinet member for Place, said: “Since being originally launched in three schools, the holiday school meal programme has gone from strength to strength.

“We now serve up the three-course holiday meals at a number of local schools and that was also recently expanded to include community centres.

“This summer, it has reached more young people than ever and ensures that every child, no matter their background, has access to a warm, healthy meal when they’re not at school, with the added benefit of an outstanding activity programme.

“I would also like to say a special thanks to the staff who worked so hard over the summer.”

For the first time, Whitlees Community Centre in Ardrossan (serving St Peter’s and Stanley Primary pupils) took part in the programme.

It joined local youth centres ACES Woodwynd Community Centre and PRYDE in Pennyburn (both available for all Kilwinning pupils) – in being part of this initiative and serving up lunches. In addition, the North Ayrshire Foodbank, via the Church of the Nazarene in Ardrossan and Ardeer Community Centre in Stevenston, also provided the service.

The holiday lunches cost £2 but are free to children entitled to free school meals.