A £400,000 scheme to combat holiday hunger will be rolled out across Fife after a successful trial in Cowdenbeath and Lochgelly.

Cafe Inc will open in a range of schools and community centres to provide meals and stop children going hungry during the seven week break.

It is being introduced after a pilot at Easter when more than 7,000 meals were provided in the two weeks of the holidays.

While welcoming the initiative, Councillor Judy Hamilton blasted the fact that such a scheme was necessary.

“It is a damned disgrace that we are in a situation where we need to provide free food during school holidays,” she said.

“Every school holiday has become a burden on families. This is an excellent provision and I am so proud that we are able to do it and do right by our children.”

A pilot scheme ran in four schools, five community centres and three playschemes and Cowdenbeath councillor Linda Erskine said the trial had gone very well.

She said: “On the first day, 48 meals were served. By the end, we were serving 270 a day. What I saw wasn’t just kids, parents were coming together and there was a real buzz about the inclusiveness.

“Parents who didn’t know each other, who were maybe sitting alone, by the end of the first week they were all talking and hanging out in groups. It was wider than just holiday hunger provision.”

Scottish Government figures state that almost one in four children in this country are living in poverty while it’s estimated that more than 24,000 adults in Fife may be experiencing food insecurity – the inability of one or more members of a household to consume adequate quality or sufficient quantity of food that is useful for health.

The roll-out in Fife will see a hot lunches and packed lunches at a selection of schools and other centres in all seven committee areas.

They’ll be chosen on set criteria and greatest need.

It’ll likely focus on the 24 primary schools in the most deprived areas of Fife, which the council said included Benarty, Kelty, Lochgelly South, Lumphinnans, St Joseph’s and St Kenneth’s. There were questions about the sustainability of the project but Gary Daniels, community resources team leader, said: “We have taken into account the size and I have worked with facilities and education and £400,000 is the budget I’m working to.

“The more meals we deliver, the cheaper it actually becomes. I’m confident we can deliver it to cost.”