Families urged to access free school meals in lockdown

"No child should go hungry in North Somerset and no child should receive inadequate or insulting food parcels as reported in the media as happening elsewhere."

"No child should go hungry in North Somerset and no child should receive inadequate or insulting food parcels as reported in the media as happening elsewhere." - Credit: Pixabay

North Somerset families are being encouraged to continue to access free school meals during the latest national lockdown. 

The news follows reports from other parts of the country that inadequate meals have been provided to eligible families entitled to free school meals hampers. 

Government contractor, Chartwells, has faced widespread criticism on social media after an irritated mother posted a picture of the food parcel she had been sent earlier this week. The hamper, sent in place of a £30 food voucher, contained what she worked out to be just more than £5’s worth of food. 

Government contractor, Chartwells, has faced widespread criticism on social media after an irritated mother posted a picture of the food parcel she had been sent earlier this week.

Government contractor, Chartwells, has faced widespread criticism on social media after an irritated mother posted a picture of the food parcel she had been sent earlier this week. - Credit: Supplied

Since the start of the pandemic, North Somerset schools have been supporting families who receive free school meals and each school has their own arrangements to ensure no child goes hungry.  

Worlebury St Paul’s Primary School has been praised by parents for the quality of their hampers and Weston business, Loves Café, was also offering families vegetable boxes to supplement free school meals, until until it ran out of capacity. 

North Somerset Council's executive member for children's services, Cllr Catherine Gibbons, said: "No child should go hungry in North Somerset and no child should receive inadequate or insulting food parcels as reported in the media as happening elsewhere.  

Cllr Catherine Gibbons.

Cllr Catherine Gibbons. - Credit: Archant

“I have sought assurances that this is not the case in North Somerset and that the meals provided will offer proper nutrition to local children.  

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"If children usually receive a free school meal and their family hasn’t heard from their school about arrangements while schools are closed, they should get in touch with them directly.  

"We are also continuing to provide support through our Welfare Provision Scheme which can support families with a wider range of needs including help during emergencies." 

All schools have been asked to sign up to a nationally recognised voucher scheme which is secure, limited to food products and can be used at a wide range of stores and supermarkets. 

The government’s national free school meals voucher scheme will relaunch on Monday and will be run by the original supplier, Edenred. 

North Somerset Council says if families are struggling and unsure if they ae entitled to support, they can apply for free school meals online at www.gov.uk/apply-free-go-meals 

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