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Holiday hunger in the UK

Holiday hunger in the UK

This book describes the extent and causes of “holiday hunger” in the UK, faced by up to three million children when free school meals are not available. It reviews responses to holiday hunger, including holiday clubs where children can eat for free during school holidays. 

Publisher’s summary

This timely and much-needed book focuses on the phenomenon often referred to as "holiday hunger" in the United Kingdom. 

The book begins by outlining the history and scope of holiday hunger – the condition that occurs when a child’s household is, or will become, food insecure during the summer holidays. The decline of the UK welfare state and the rise of neoliberalism have created a situation where up to three million children in the UK face food insecurity during the summer months when there are extra financial pressures on the working poor and when free school meals are not available. This book details the level of childhood and household food insecurity in the UK and describes one of the main responses to holiday hunger – holiday clubs. These clubs are locally organised and funded and provide a place for children to go to eat nutritious meals for free during the school holidays. Highlighting the benefits of holiday clubs that often extend beyond food provision, this book also discusses the challenges that they face now and in the future. The book concludes with recommendations for food insecurity policy and the role of government in fighting holiday hunger.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of food and nutrition security, social policy and public health.



Long, M. A., Defeyter, M. A. and Stretesky, P. B. (2021). Holiday Hunger in the UK: Local Responses to Childhood Food Insecurity. Routledge, Abingdon.


Read more here. See also the TABLE explainer What is malnutrition?

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