A NEW £25k project to provide free summer playschemes across Inverclyde sparked a surge in attendance among the 2,000 children who took advantage of it.

Inverclyde Council commissioned their partners Inverclyde Leisure to provide seven free playschemes across the area for four weeks during the school holidays.

It paid for the initiative with £23,250 from its anti-poverty fund to ensure the playschemes were charge-free.

The move was part of the local authority's ongoing support for residents and families who are struggling with the cost of living crisis.

Councillors on the local authority’s policy and resources committee have now heard that over 2,000 children, with an average age of eight, attended the free playschemes.

The free service was utilised around 8,000 times, which is a substantial increase from the previous year.

Councillor Stephen McCabe, convener of the policy and resources committee, said: “The free playscheme was clearly a success, with an increase of more than 2,000 attendees compared to last summer.

“We are proud of the initiatives we have in place to support families and young people.

“As well as being the first council in Scotland to introduce free school meals for all primary school children from August this year, we also offer an enhanced school uniform grant.

“Of course council funds are not limitless but I’m proud that, with the support of my fellow councillors, once again we’ve been able to use our resources to help ease the burden on working families.”

The playschemes were provided at Kilmacolm, St Michael’s, St Patrick’s, Moorfoot, Inverkip and Wemyss Bay primary schools as well as Auchmountain Community Centre.

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Councillor Kirsty Law, who is the council's designated young people’s champion, added: “The free playschemes were well received and provided important support to children and working families during the school summer break.

“I am proud that Inverclyde Council does so much to support children and young people and this is another example of that.”