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.
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.”
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.
Nancy Fielder, editor