Families urged to access free school meals during lockdown

9:50am - 14 January 2021

Families across North Somerset are being encouraged to continue accessing free school meals during the latest lockdown restrictions following reports from other parts of the country that inadequate meals have been provided.

North Somerset schools have been supporting families who receive free school meals but can't attend school since the beginning of the pandemic, often working with their local communities to harness the support of local voluntary groups and businesses alongside their usual meals provider. 

Each school has their own arrangements in place to make sure no child goes without meals during term-time. These arrangements include contracts with a range of suppliers for their meals during term time, and they may also offer food packages, vouchers or a mix of both. 

Cllr Catherine Gibbons, North Somerset Council's executive member for children's services 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. 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. 

"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. 

"If other families are struggling and are unsure if they're entitled to support, they can apply for free school meals online at https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals.

"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."

During the recent Christmas holiday, and upcoming termly break the government has provided extra funds to councils to make sure children don’t go without meals. 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. This has proved easy to use and popular with families and schools alike.