Was council right to spend £10k on iPads for kids?
A Scottish local authority has spent £10,000 of taxpayers' cash buying gadgets to reward children for eating more healthily at school. North Lanarkshire Council bought iPads as the top prizes at 24 secondary schools around the region, after pupils were given "points cards" to tot up how many healthy food and drink items they consumed every week.
Some people have criticised the scheme, saying that the money spent on the prizes could arguably have gone to a healthier outcome - such as funding activity classes for children or a trip to a soft play centre. The issue has been particularly contentious because residents of North Lanarkshire are currently facing cuts of some £55 million to the local authority's budget, with around 600 jobs expected to go.
Emma Boone of the Taxpayers' Alliance told the Sun: "They should be exploring ways of being more efficient with their money. That includes cracking down on hare-brained ideas like this."
However, the council defended its position, calling the initiative a "great success" that helped improve fitness for kids. "The promotion is full of incentives for the pupils to take a healthy school meal, not just for the week but with a view to permanently changing their lunchtime diets," said Graham Patrick, head of facility support services at North Lanarkshire Council. He added: "Each school was given a whole host of superb prizes which helped make the campaign such a success. The long-term results should be healthier pupils."
Meanwhile, the Dumfries and Galloway Standard reports that NHS Dumfries and Galloway is tackling obesity with the Healthy Weight Club, which encourages lifestyle changes through games, exercise and cooking lessons. The free weekly sessions are held at the David Keswick Centre every Wednesday, and could help to supplement other physical activities, such as taking children to an indoor play centre for kids.
Posted by Lynne Woods
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