CHILDREN, parents and carers in Alloa have all been benefitting from a summer project which builds life skills for the future.

As part of the Food, Families, Futures initiative, Sunnyside PS ran a summer club this month to provide social opportunities and to pass on valuable knowledge on cooking and children's learning.

With support from volunteers at The Gate, the young people had the chance to take part in various activities.

They even developed a play for the stage – a process which allowed their creativity to flow freely.

Meanwhile, the parents who came along learnt valuable life skills in the kitchen, but also things such as sewing.

Co-ordinating the project was Sunnyside's depute head Phillip Mathis, who managed to secure funding from Children in Scotland for the summer club.

The project had three core aims: to develop community belonging and ethos; to promote healthy eating; and to tackle holiday hunger.

Mr Mathis said: "We've been developing food activities and that's led on from work we've already done in the term-time with NHS Forth Valley to upskill some of our parents and provide them with an elementary cooking skills qualification.

"And the children, when they come in, they partake in different outdoor activities, team games or drama. We've also had ceramic artwork.

"So it's a variety of different extracurricular activities that are really just encouraging creativity and developing those core skills for life.

"It's basically ensuring that our parents and our families have got the skills they need and also providing a touch-base as a community hub where we can help them in the best ways we can to counteract any negative circumstances around them."

Better nutrition can lead to higher academic achievements, Mr Mathis added.

He is also looking forward to running a term-time supper club – stressing the importance of parents and children taking some ownership.

Supporting the project were some members of Riverside Drama Group who registered as Gate volunteers to help out with drama workshops, Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface, Tesco with food vouchers and Asda with a £500 grant.

Encouraged by how the two-week project went, Mr Mathis hopes the summer club could become a blueprint for other Clackmannanshire schools to use.

He said: "It's been fab, the children have been engaged, they have been developing relationships with other people in the school community they maybe have not spoken to, same for the parents.

"And we know that the children are receiving a freshly prepared healthy meal every day as well.

"The general ethos around it, especially when we go for the sit-down meal at the end, it's a really lovely time together and I think the families appreciate it.

"We've certainly seen a change in the dynamic of it because it's becoming more parental led as well, which is lovely to see."