Children entitled to free schools meals are due to get a £50 gift card to spend in East Ayrshire during the Easter break.

The council is handing the gift card to about 4,200 primary, secondary and nursery pupils as part of a £210,000 investment.

Families on low incomes will also get £100 from the Scottish Government.

The £50 gift card can be used in shops, restaurants and even barbers across the area.

The council’s interim head of finance Joe McLachlan said: “It is [for] the two-year-olds right up to S6s.”

He said the council is directing the £210,000 funding “lazer-like” into communities and people’s pockets.

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Council leader Douglas Reid (SNP) said: "We are one of the first in Scotland to do the local gift card – we have 140 local businesses signed up to that."

He said young people will spend the money with businesses based in the area and can even get a haircut as barbers are signed up.

The Kilmarnock West and Crosshouse politician said it was a huge hit over Christmas and traders reported a boost.

The family gift card award was signed off today along with a number of new schemes as part of a £2.6 million fund under the council’s £359m revenue budget.

East Ayrshire budget digest (due to start April)

Mr McLachlan said just under £800,000 will be spent on new apprenticeships and training for young people, including those in care.

And £80,000 is to go to pupils who need internet access at home. The council intends to spend another £100,000 to support children’s wellbeing.

Mr McLachlan said: “It is about young people and it is about giving them the skills for employment. It is about investing in well being and protection. We know that mental health and well being particularly this last year is a concern.”

About £700,000 out of the £2.6m will go towards roads, a food waste pilot, town and village improvements and more staff to tackle fly-tipping.

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