CHARITIES that missed out on council cash to feed school pupils fear the vital scheme will now not be delivered by the most suitable groups.

More than 40 community groups that had applied to Glasgow City Council’s holiday food programme were turned down.

Around £2 million will be shared between 37 successful bidders – but some organisations believe cash should have been awarded to those with existing ties to local areas.

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City Treasurer Ricky Bell said the programme is designed to feed children, not fund organisations, and that all council wards will be covered.

There was “unprecedented demand” for funding this year, with applications totalling £3.4m for the £2m pot.

Emily Cutts, from the Children’s Wood, which runs the G20 Holiday Club, said the money had been “invaluable” over the past two years.

The club, which requested just under £28,000, has not been funded for the upcoming year.

“We’re in the heart of the community and work with mostly Maryhill children,” Ms Cutts said.

“As far as I’m aware there are no Maryhill-based groups who have been awarded the funding.

“The benefit of linking holiday food to a programme of activities is that children will be purposefully involved and engaged with a group they trust and know food is just part of the programme.

“A food-only delivery, potentially by a group of people children don’t know, could make children feel shame and disadvantaged as it becomes more about not having enough to eat.”

Her group will now increase its funding drive in a bid to keep the club going.

In a post on Twitter, the Citywide Forum CYPF, a group representing children’s charities, said: “We are concerned that while over 80 organisations received funding for the first year of the programme, only 37 organisations are recommended this year.

“Lots of great organisations offering super holiday activity programmes for kids in very deprived areas are missing out.”

Jon Molyneux, the Greens councillor for Pollokshields, said that although two groups are listed to cover his ward, there “aren’t necessarily obvious organisations who would understand and be recognised to be working with communities in Pollokshields”.

Jane Morgan, a Labour member for Maryhill, asked whether postcode data was collected to “see in a bit more detail who is benefitting”.

“I think it’s particularly relevant if we are getting organisations who are extending their coverage to a much wider area,” she said.

“There may be some instances where an organisation is going wider and has put in a good application, but one that perhaps knows a small area very well has not put in a good application.”

City Treasurer Mr Bell said groups which missed out can “signpost” families to successful organisations in their area, so children have “an appropriate place to go”.

He said: “This funding programme is about making sure young people are fed. This is not about funding organisations; it is about funding the programme.

“The programme will continue at the same level of funding and we will continue to get healthy meals out to young people across the city.”

He said groups who were not funded were “understandably disappointed”, but all council wards would be covered.

He added: “A number of organisations who have been delivering the service over a period of time have been expanding what they believe they can do and have applied for larger areas to cover and additional funds.”

Council leader Susan Aitken said the scheme is “really open, it’s really flexible, it’s designed to be non-stigmatising”.

She added that, although there is registration, it is “informal provision” in a “play-based setting”, which means it is difficult to make “hard and fast projections” on the number of meals which will be provided.

Ms Aitken said some families can be “quite hesitant” when they turn up.

“If parents think they’re going to have to fill out a form before their kids get to join in, it might put people off,” she said. “We don’t want that to happen.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The point of the programme is to reach as many children and young people as possible and ensure they receive nutritious meals and healthy snacks during school holidays.

“With so many groups wanting to be part of the delivery, officers recommended the highest quality bids that give the city the best chance of meeting that goal.”

She added: “Families still have access to the programme and we are encouraging all organisations to work together to ensure they are referred or signposted to the right provider.

“We are providing unsuccessful organisations feedback on why their bid was not taken forward.”