AN AMBITIOUS programme to alleviate holiday hunger has been launched at Theatre Clwyd.

Liverpool-based social enterprise 'Can Cook' attended the event on Thursday, which was welcomed by Flintshire Council members and play scheme staff.

Part of the enterprise project, which aimed at working with South Liverpool residents who lacked cooking skills, is the new project 'Share Your Lunch.'

'Share Your Lunch' which will provide 20,000 free meals, 800 meals a day, over the six-week summer holiday period to play schemes throughout Flintshire.

The project has been deemed a "huge undertaking and a first for the region" having already provided over 35,000 fresh, free meals for Liverpool families and individuals living in food poverty.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Clwyd Alyn Housing Association and Travis Perkins are funding this essential scheme, and deputy leader of Flintshire Council, Cllr Bernie Attridge, is calling on more businesses to back the local initiative.

Cllr Attridge said: "Although I am very excited over this programme, it's quite sad in saying that we need to do this but the evidence shows us that the children are going hungry once they leave school for the summer holidays.

"Eight-hundred meals across Flintshire is a massive task in itself but we feel it's the right thing to be doing for all children going to our play schemes."

The project is also aiming to improve access to a healthy diet for those in food poverty, and Robbie Davison, director of Can Cook, is keen for Flintshire children to have nutritious and filling food this summer.

He said: "This scheme is about making sure that any child that's hungry never goes without good food. Two out of every five children go hungry during the summer months, and sometimes that's for days.

"What we're looking to do is make sure that for one meal a day, a child is fed a fresh, nutritious meal.

"Everyone involved in this should be really proud of what we are achieving together. This is probably the largest response to holiday hunger in Wales and England."

Mr Davison said the "key line" to tackling food poverty is to "not just fill stomachs but to treat clients with dignity."

The initiative is vital, according to dedicated playscheme worker Emily Hughes, of Flint, who worked at the Bagillt play scheme site last summer.

She said: "This year we are tackling the play poverty, but we are tackling the food poverty side as well. We're making sure a child gets one hot meal a day at 20 play scheme sites across Flintshire."

After working on site last year, Emily, 20, is now dedicating her time to working on the nutrition side of things within the 'Share Your Lunch' project, and said she is proud to be on board.