A WELFARE charity which sends some of Inverclyde's most vulnerable families on holiday has voiced concerns over changes to fundraising in schools.

In a bid to cut down on the cost of a school day, local head teachers are now expected to reduce support for charities and cut back on long-established fundraising events like non-uniform days.

But Children in Poverty Inverclyde, which was set up by local businessman Pat Burke, fears that this will simply prove counter productive.

In recent years his organisation - which sends families on holiday breaks - has benefited from £2,000 thanks to support from local schools in more affluent catchment areas.

He has now written a letter to council bosses setting out his concerns and highlighting the vital work they do.

In a strongly-worded letter sent to the council's chief executive, Mr Burke said: "Effectively, by cutting off this income stream to charities, you are severely affecting the very same children whom you intend to assist.

"In recent years, donations to us ranging from £500-£800 from Christmas jumper days, home bakery sales, PTA-led events and mini-triathlons have been invaluable and incalculable in improving the wellbeing and hope for many children."

In Inverclyde Council's first ever local action plan on child poverty, cutting the cost of sending children to schools was identified as a priority as officials pointed out that the things like festive jumper days could cost mums and dads at least £15 per pupil.

The district has among the highest rates of families living on the breadline.

This year alone Children in Poverty Inverclyde, which relies on donations, sent 220 children on holiday with their families.

In the run up to Christmas they will send another 320 to the Beacon panto.

Pat added: "These ventures are therapeutic to the families and children feel ten times better for them."

In response to the concerns of the charity founder, education director Ruth Binks has defended the local authority's policy.

In her reply to Mr Burke she said: "Schools do have the flexibility to consider the fundraisers they wish to hold but they are asked to do so realising the full impact of any activities on the families who are struggling to make ends meet or are living in poverty.

"This is not only the financial impact but the possible stigma of not taking part.

"We ask that schools listen to their community on this matter and take into account the views of their families."