School closures: Parents ‘forced to turn to foodbanks’

Tina Woolnough: Parents upset about safety issues. Picture: Neil Hanna
Tina Woolnough: Parents upset about safety issues. Picture: Neil Hanna
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School closures have forced parents in Edinburgh to turn to foodbanks for the first time because they cannot afford to feed their children, according to charity workers.

As council chiefs announced arrangements for some pupils to return to class, one foodbank said there had been a noticeable increase in families seeking help. Carol Swan, of Community One Stop Shop in Broomhouse, which operates a foodbank, said families had budgeted on youngsters being back at school after the Easter holiday and were left struggling to find the cash to give them food during the day.

She said: “We’re supporting families who cannot afford to feed their kids because they expected them to be back at school. We have Burdiehouse and St Joseph’s primaries both closed, so there are a lot of kids in this area not at school. One mum came in yesterday – she’s on Jobseeker’s Allowance, looking for work. It was the first time she had accessed the foodbank, but she said she had spent all her surplus money during the Easter holiday because in her head the kids were going to be back at school this week. Now she has to find money to get food for them and she’s not due to get her benefit until later in the week.

“She didn’t think she had to budget for food during the day because she thought the kids were going to be getting a hot meal at school.”

Tina Woolnough, the former Edinburgh representative for the National Parent Forum, said: “Parents are upset because the trust that your child is in safe premises is the number one thing.”