Dundee’s community support centres provided a “lifeline” to many schoolchildren during lockdown, education leaders have said.
As the hubs closed on Tuesday, school staff and volunteers were praised for their efforts in providing critical childcare for children of key workers and vulnerable pupils.
More than 600 pupils from across the city attended one of the centres each day since they opened on March 26.
The hubs, based at based at Bagarthno Campus, Claypotts Primary, Coldside Campus, Grove Academy, North East Campus, Rowantree Primary, St Paul’s Academy and Tayside Primary, were closed to prepare for an “enhanced clean” before staff returned.
“Parents who have used the hubs, not just for childcare but for food support, told us it was a lifeline for them as they faced many work-related challenges,” said Audrey May, chief education officer.
“It’s been a busy time for everyone and we’re very proud that our staff really stepped up in terms of volunteering and giving their time to these community support centres right at the start of lockdown.
“We would not have been able to offer as many places to so many children if we hadn’t had so many staff volunteers.
“They have been there from the start right until the end and are also going straight back to work on Monday.
“We really want to thank all of our teachers, support staff and managers for giving their time. They have really delivered for Dundee’s children and I’m very proud of them.”
Pupils continued to attend the hubs during the summer holidays, with numbers falling to 340 per day as lockdown restrictions eased.
Families and children who were unable to attend the hubs were supported by school staff and Dundee City Council’s health and social care partnership who delivered food and activity packs.
Councillor Stewart Hunter, children and families convener, said around 600 volunteers supported pupils – an they were “phenomenal”.
He said: “There are no words that we can say to thank them enough for what they’ve done over the last five months.
“I took the opportunity alongside my deputy Roisin Smith to go into the hubs a few weeks ago to speak to young people and staff and get a feel of what their experience of hubs were.
“We came away feeling really proud of all the work our staff have done. They were still doing their day job of teaching children online at the same time and that must be commended.
“It’s been a really difficult time nationally and in Dundee but we should be really proud of what’s happening in the hubs. It really shows what the city is about.”