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Welsh Government guarantees free school meal provision

16th Oct 2020 - 08:29
The Welsh Government has announced it will provide free school meals for children during the school holidays up to and including Easter 2021.

Ensuring the continuation of free school meal provision has been a key priority for the Welsh Government throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Kirsty Williams, education minister for Wales, said: “We have worked tirelessly this year to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and the countless challenges it has presented but we have not, and will not, forget those for who school is about far more than education.

“I am pleased to confirm that we have today made £11m available to provide free school meal provisions over every school holiday up to and including Easter 2021. I really hope this provides some reassurance in these times of uncertainty.”

On 18 March when schools were closed the Education Minister announced £7 million would be made available to all local authorities in Wales to ensure that children eligible for free school meals would continue to benefit from the scheme.

Wales were the first in the UK to guarantee ongoing funding for children to receive free school meals during the summer holidays.

Marcus Rashford MBE, #EndChildFoodPoverty campaigner and England footballer, added: “Holiday provision is vital to stabilising households during the school closures, given the devastating effects of COVID-19.

“Having this framework in place for the foreseeable future will have a significantly positive impact on children who are struggling to engage in learning due to anxiety and fear, not to mention the noise of their rumbling stomachs.

“No child in 2020 should be sat in a classroom worried about how they are going to access food during the holidays, and the impact that will have on their parents when matched with unemployment, ill health and, in some cases, personal loss.”

Rashford launched a petition on the parliamentary petition website to encourage the government to continue supporting vulnerable children.

Written by
Edward Waddell