Norfolk children will get free school meals in Easter holidays
- Credit: PA
Children in Norfolk eligible for free school meals will get them over the Easter holidays, council leaders have announced.
Norfolk County Council is to make meal vouchers available using the bulk of a £952,000 grant from the Department for Work and Pensions.
A child from a family which receives benefits is eligible for a £15 voucher per week, a total of £30 for the entire break.
Schools can order the food vouchers using an online service and families can receive codes by email to redeem themselves or as a voucher provided by post, collection or delivery.
Some schools may also be offering food parcels, with parents urged to contact schools.
John Fisher, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children's services, who said last month that providing free school meals in school holidays was not the council's responsibility, said: "I am delighted that we’ve been able to extend this scheme to cover the Easter holiday.
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It will be families’ first opportunity to spend some quality time together following the return to school
"I hope that by issuing these vouchers, parents can focus on this time, rather than worrying about where their children’s next meal is coming from during this challenging period.”
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County councillor Mike Smith-Clare, Labour's lead for children and young people, said: "Anything that stops parents worrying about where their child’s next meal is coming from, is certainly an improvement on the disgraceful alternative.
"I certainly cannot use words like ‘delighted’ though - as the fact that any child has had to suffer food poverty in Britain in the 21st century is a shameful indication that something’s seriously wrong."
Children are eligible for vouchers if their family receives benefits such as universal credit, income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment and support allowance or child tax credit.
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has been campaigning to make sure children get free school meals over holidays and was made an MBE in recognition of his efforts.
People can apply for free school meals via www.norfolk.gov.uk/education-and-learning/schools/school-meals-and-milk