NORTH Ayrshire Council are examining issues surrounding food as they attempt to tackle the “big issue” of child poverty.

Holding a mini public enquiry in Irvine’s Volunteer Rooms, the council’s Child Poverty and Cost of Living Board spoke to a variety of organisations such as members of the Irvine Youth Forum and workers at the Ardrossan Whitlees Centre foodbank.

The enquiry comes as the council tries to improve child poverty levels which are currently the second highest in Scotland with 20.8 per cent and 16.6 per cent of kids in relative and abject poverty respectively.

Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament and the Irvine Youth Forum, Justin Jones, said: "Food hunger and food poverty are big issues today.

"Dignity is vital, and our local breakfast club is run with dignity. Hunger isn't nine-to-five, and people are going hungry. This affects people’s lives, and we need to get it right.

“Child poverty is here and now, and every opportunity must be taken to engage with people."

The enquiry hopes to inform the council’s child poverty strategy which is currently in the works.

North Ayrshire now has 15 larders in operation and many are seeing new faces as the cost-of-living crisis has made finances worse for families who had previously never faced money struggles.

Worker at the Whitlees Centre’s foodbank, Julia Gray, said: “Food larders, when I started off, were supposed to be for low-income families but we started getting different people in through the door at the Whitlees hub.

"They are all integrating and meeting with different groups, like Money Matters, to get help. People sometimes bring bags of shopping in because they haven't used it, and it goes back on the shelf."

"The larders are one of the biggest things that has happened in my lifetime.

"We definitely couldn't have done all of this without the support of the council and, of course, our volunteers.”

For information on how to access help from North Ayrshire Council during the cost-of-living crisis visit their website at