We are launching free meals for children this half term
We are ready to step in and help almost 15,000 children avoid hunger during the upcoming school holidays.
Central government are not planning to fund free school meals during the May half-term break, so the council has agreed to provide this support for all eligible families in Kirklees.
How will this work?
Since schools closed in March to the majority of pupils, children who qualify for free school meals have been entitled to vouchers worth £15 per week. Families can redeem the vouchers in local supermarkets.
As part of our work to make sure everyone can access food, we are set to invest up to £220,000 in preventing children and young people from going hungry during the week of half-term.
Cllr Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said:
“It’s vitally important for children and young people to have a healthy and balanced diet.
“The free school meals system is operating in a different way at the moment due to Covid-19 and we are determined that it won’t simply come to a halt during the school holidays.
“We were ready to fund free school meals during the Easter break if the government failed to do so and we are again showing our commitment to local children and families.
“The Covid-19 crisis is having a profound effect on many people’s financial situations – if someone is experiencing hardship, or feel they are at risk of being unable to afford food, I urge them to seek support.”
Cllr Carole Pattison, our Cabinet member for Learning, Aspiration and Communities, said:
“We want all of our children and young people to be safe and well, and to have the best possible start in life.
“Preventing food poverty is central to this and the provision of free school meals is often a lifeline for families.
“Free school meals are just one of the ways we are helping our residents. There’s also a range of other options including a huge network of support in local communities.
“Schools themselves continue to do a fantastic job in supporting children and families during the pandemic. They are going above and beyond in responding to the unique challenges they face.”
Where can you find help?
The free phone number for the Covid-19 Community Response helpline is 0800 4561114 (8am to 6pm weekdays, 10am to 4pm weekends and bank holidays). This continues to be available, and they will happily call you back.
Community Response is aimed at supporting those who are most vulnerable and in need of support, and who cannot currently get this help directly from friends, relatives or neighbours. The council is working alongside citizens and local organisations to make sure we can all support our neighbours and communities.