FOOTBALLER Marcus Rashford is urging Bolton parents to sign their children up for the summer holiday clubs with meals which will open during the long break.

Bolton Council revealed its £1M masterplan to help families over the summer holidays as part of the Government's £220 M Holiday Activities and Food Programme.

The Food Foundation charity has launched a video to raise awareness of the programme, which is backed by the footballer, who has campaigned for support for struggling families.

Cllr Anne Galloway, executive cabinet member for children's services, said: "Government funding of nearly £1.5million will enable Bolton Council to plan an ambitious programme of activities during the summer holidays which will be open to all children eligible for free school meals.

"There will be a wide range of activities on offer, such as sports, the arts and food education and the council will be working with a number of different providers in communities across Bolton to offer many positive experiences for children this summer."

Bolton's programme will tie in with the Food and Drink Festival which returns this summer

Read more: Masterplan for Bolton's £1m fun and healthy eating summer holidays

Rashford, the England and Manchester United striker, and Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain, have both supported the scheme

Rashford said: “I know only too well that the holidays can be a really difficult time for families who are struggling.

“It’s such a weight off their shoulders to know that there is a safe space for their children to go, where their minds can be stimulated, and where they are guaranteed at least one meal a day.”

It came as findings from a national survey suggest that 30 per cent of parents of school-aged children are worried about feeding their children over the summer holidays.

This is higher among parents with children on free school meals (FSMs) with 49 per cent worried about feeding their children over the summer holidays.

The survey, of more than 2,000 parents of school-aged children, suggests that 24 per cent have heard of the Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme.

Less than half of parents with children on FSMs – who are entitled to free places on the programme – are aware of the scheme.

The holiday programme is targeted to support children who have been most affected by the pandemic, offering a safe and supportive environment where they can learn, be active, eat well, and make friends.

Parents can sign their children up for their local summer programme and are encouraged to find out what’s on in their area via the council website.