Vouchers for children in Nottinghamshire who receive free school meals will continue over half term

Children who receive free school meals will continue to receive vouchers from their schools over February half term in Nottinghamshire.

Thursday, 21st January 2021, 1:03 pm
Children who receive free school meals will continue to receive vouchers (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Children who receive free school meals will continue to receive vouchers (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Department for Education advice issued last week said: “Schools do not need to provide lunch parcels or vouchers during the February half-term.”

However, the Conservative-controlled county council, and Labour-run city council, have both said they will continue distributing funds to schools, which can then be given out as vouchers to families.

But in Nottinghamshire, a £2.3 million Winter Covid Grant – partly spent over Christmas – has been spread out so that enough was left to spend over the February half term, and families will continue to get payments.

The government set up the package last November, under pressure from anti-poverty campaigner and footballer Marcus Rashford.

At least 80 per cent of the £2.3 million will go to families, while the remaining funds can be spent on vulnerable families for costs like utility bills.

As well as parents with school-age children, school leavers, those in early-years education and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are also eligible for support.

On Monday, January 18, county council bosses said a decision had been made to ensure families would still continue to receive the £15 a week over the upcoming holiday.

The county council’s director for children, Colin Pettigrew, said: “You’ll be aware in the media that there’s quite a growing view that there should be free school meals for all children in the February half term, well in fact in Nottinghamshire that’s already sorted, in terms of the commitment this council made, because of the decision to invest the grant in the way we’ve done.

Coun Philip Owen, who represents Nuthall and Kimberley for the Conservatives, said: “Many families here in Nottinghamshire, and across our country, have been badly affected by the coronavirus. Some of us have lost loved ones. Others have lost their jobs and incomes, through no fault of their own.

“We need to do all we can to help vulnerable people who are struggling, including parents with young children, so they can continue to cover essential costs this winter.

“I’m pleased that this funding is being used to help our communities get through some very tough times and look forward to a brighter future.”

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