LARGS and Millport have both been excluded from a North Ayrshire Council free school meal programme for low income families over the summer holidays.

Children and young people are able to catch up with their friends, enjoy a nutritious lunch and take part in some activities from 11.30am to 2.30pm throughout the break - but not locally.

The Largs Access to Food group, a sub committee of the community council, has questioned why the area is being treated differently - and says it intends to raise it with local authority bosses.

Member Robbie Stevenson said: "Of the 22 locations within North Ayrshire, there are 17 community centres which are open, including West Kilbride.

"However, Largs has a pick-up lunch box five days a week from the school reception, whilst Fairlie, Millport and Skelmorlie have a voucher scheme that can be redeemed at shops for food.

"I think this is a discrepancy and it should be address."

Robbie says it us unfair that children in Largs, Fairlie, Skelmorlie and Millport are missing out.

He added: "Children in the likes of Beith and Dalry can go to their community centre and bring a friend who might not be eligible and they can still get a free meal and enjoy free activities, while local school kids here are missing out.

"While I appreciate that packed lunches are available at Largs Academy, it is not quite the same service."

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson defended the decision to vary the programme.

They said: “Our free holiday school meals and activities programme is reaching more communities across North Ayrshire than ever before.

“In addition, recognising the current cost of living challenges, top-up vouchers of £10 per pupil per week will also be made available for every eligible family right across North Ayrshire.

“Families in Fairlie, Skelmorlie and on Cumbrae will have the opportunity to attend lunchtime activities in the local libraries two days a week throughout the holidays. Lunches will be on offer on these days as part of the activities. The dates and times of these events will be promoted via the libraries this week.

“Regarding the provision in Largs, in Easter 2022 a similar programme was delivered across North Ayrshire. In the course of the two weeks, unfortunately no one attended these events. Based on this, the decision was taken not to arrange activities but to continue to ensure that food was readily available to those who required it.

“Lunches are available Monday to Friday until August 12 and can be picked up from Largs Campus reception any weekday.

“We are continuing to support a wide range of activities in Largs over the holiday period, including events for children and families at Largs Library with food available at all events.

“KA Leisure are also delivering events in the town and have free swimming at Vikingar every day.

“Largs Youth Theatre have a free Summer Drama Camp running at the end of July - again supported by the council - and free to attend. If there is an interest from the sub group of the Community Council to help deliver activities in Largs, we would be delighted to hear from them."