Isle of Man Foodbank welcomes meal voucher scheme extension

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image captionNeal Mellon said the charity was expecting a sharper rise in holiday hunger than normal

Free summer meals for about 2,000 Manx children will help to combat an anticipated increase in holiday hunger, a charity's chief executive has said.

On Tuesday, Tynwald voted to extend a voucher scheme for children on free school meals by a further six weeks.

Welcoming the move, Isle of Man Foodbank's Neal Mellon said he expected a "marked increase in demand" as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The charity usually gives out about 80 food parcels a week.

Mr Mellon said previous summers had seen demand for both food and financial support almost double, with about 150 parcels given out.

The foodbank's chairman of trustees David Gawne added that many families "incur additional childcare costs" across the summer, which could have an impact on household finances.

He said the charity would work with the government to understand "the nature and extent of holiday hunger" and explore "how together we might arrive at a longer term solution".

The one-off government voucher scheme will see 2,040 children receive fortnightly vouchers for six weeks.

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