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Cornish children to be given free school meals during half term

Cornwall Council will provide free school meals over the February half term after the Department for Education told schools yesterday (14th January) they would not be providing funding.

The council will use money from the COVID Winter Grant Scheme to feed over 15,000 young people, who are currently accessing the scheme in Cornwall.

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Schools will be provided with funding of up to £15 per eligible child to support their local families.

Cabinet member for Children, Public Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Sally Hawken said: “The important contribution a healthy, nutritious school lunch makes towards children’s wider wellbeing cannot be underestimated.

“Like the rest of the country, the effect of the coronavirus pandemic in Cornwall is profound. Many families have seen their financial circumstances negatively impacted by lockdown, including a significant number working in Cornwall’s tourist and leisure industry.”

One of Cornwall Council’s key strategic priorities is to have fewer children living in poverty, and our plans aim to address many of the adverse outcomes associated with child poverty; including strengthening families and communities and raising the aspiration and achievement of children and young people.

Since 2018 Cornwall Council has a run a programme called filling the holiday gap, which provided small grants to community groups and volunteer organisations to provide activities and food for vulnerable young people. During the pandemic the scheme was used to provide vouchers to those that missed the deadline for the government vouchers.

Councillor Hawken continued: “There was an all-party parliamentary report in 2017 that looked at the impact of the summer holidays, where children couldn’t access school meal provision. It found

found that children were returning to school in a worse educational, health and developmental state than that in which they had left in the summer. 

“With that in mind, we were concerned about the impact of the pandemic on those families already struggling here in Cornwall.”

The COVID Winter Grant Scheme, which is worth £1.8 million, has been given to the council to support households across Cornwall.  The application process and funding criteria will be announced in the coming days. 

For more information on the scheme or to register for free school meals please visit our website