Nottinghamshire County Council is promising to support its 22,000 local children who are eligible for free school meals by stepping up to cover the cost for the two-week half term.
Any child who is currently entitled to free school meals will continue to receive support of £15 each week funded by the council applied retrospectively for the two-week period of half term.
Over £650,000 has been made available to ensure that every vulnerable family has access to food by supporting approximately 22,000 children and young people who qualify for free school meals. Each eligible child will receive £15 for each of the two-week half term period, administered by individual schools and paid for by Nottinghamshire County Council, to cover the cost of meals during the school holiday.
The council is writing to school leaders across Nottinghamshire today to make them aware of the decision. Schools are best placed to determine how this will work for their communities but the funding the Council provides will cover the cost.
Schools will be in touch with their families about how the scheme will work at their individual school once they have made their arrangements, which is likely to be next week as schools return.
Councillor Philip Owen, Chairman of children and young people committee said
“We know that the pandemic has caused some families to struggle and we do not want the 22,000 children who rely on free school meals to go hungry this half term.
“We are pleased to have set aside the funding that’s needed to ensure children from some of our poorest families don’t go hungry. This scheme will support vulnerable children who might otherwise run the risk of missing out on receiving the food they need. Appreciating that we’re already halfway through the school holidays, this scheme will be applied retrospectively for both weeks of the half term holiday. This means families are likely to hear about their child’s school’s details next week.
“We have been so impressed with how our schools have responded to supporting their pupils since this pandemic and we will be working closely with them to make this work in a way that suits their school communities best.
“This is part of our commitment to the families and children of Nottinghamshire. The Council’s budget is under huge pressures because of Covid-19, and while this is not a long-term solution, it feels like the right thing to do in these unprecedented and challenging times.”
The Council will ensure that arrangements are in place for the Christmas break and will work with schools, other partners and with Government to confirm the details of this closer to the time.