FAMILIES in Basildon struggling to feed their youngsters this summer may be boosted by an innovative schools summer canteen scheme.

The plans, announced by Basildon Council, will see the opening of a school canteen over the six-week holidays to specifically help families who cannot afford to feed their children.

The summer canteen, set to be discussed by councillors, will be funded through the cutting of councillors allowances, a hugely supported gesture from within the council.

There will be likely be one summer canteen in place, in a central location, despite calls from councillors to have more than one across the borough

Gavin Callaghan, the leader of Basildon Council, who announced the plans, is excited and will be working closely with schools across the borough to work on the location. He said: “We’re lining the stomachs of our children, not the pockets of our councillors.

“This means that no child across the borough will go hungry for six weeks.

“Headteachers are worried about pupils during school holidays, particularly the summer holidays, when children often go without food for days on end.

“That cannot be right.”

Eunice Brockman, an independent councillor for Wickford North, stated that she would prefer if there was more than one canteen, so “children who cannot afford to eat do not have to travel far.”

Kerry Smith, the deputy leader at Basildon Council, is delighted with the plans, and stated that he has been working closely with Mr Callaghan to introduce the scheme. He said: “Every penny saved from councillors allowances will go towards the canteen.

“It’s aimed at the most deprived across the borough. We want to achieve social mobility.

“Children can’t help it if their parents are saints or sinners with their money.

“There is plenty of work to be done. We will need voluntary support.

“The council are liaising with schools on where they can install the facility.”