Filling the Gap scheme returns for Christmas break

Published Wednesday, 27th November 2019

Applications are now open for a Council-run grants scheme which helps to ensure children across the town don’t go hungry during the school Christmas holidays.

The Filling the Holiday Gap scheme is designed to replace the term-time free school meals received by many children. It aims to provide funding to public sector and voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations and other charitable groups to help them ensure families they are working with don’t suffer acute food poverty during school holiday periods.

A total of £10,000 is being made available for the Christmas scheme, and the deadline for applications to be received is midday on Friday 6th December.

This year, the scheme has changed to stipulate that organisations must only provide children and young people with free school meals and not adults. Organisations must also submit an example menu at the time of application that meets the Healthy Schools Standard criteria, to ensure the food that they will provide is healthy and nutritious.

Organisations and groups interested in taking part in the scheme can find further details – including an application form and application guidance with an example menu template – at

Councillor Shane Moore, Leader of the Council and Chair of the Finance and Policy Committee, said: “Christmas is a fantastic time for many families, but for some it can be a time of real financial strain and worry. I am delighted that the council is once again able to support Hartlepool families in real need, helping to ease the financial pressure often felt during school holiday breaks.”

Councillor Leisa Smith, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Chair of Children’s and Joint Commissioning Services Committee, added: “Local organisations use this funding to deliver fantastic schemes that ensure children at risk of acute food poverty can eat well and have fun during school holidays, so we would encourage as many as possible to apply.”

The Christmas scheme follows on from the success of several others which ran during the Christmas 2018, Easter and summer 2019 school holidays.

For further information or to make an application, please visit