Wigan Council steps in to make sure 10,500 children can eat during half-term
Wigan Today has already reported how many businesses have stepped forward to provide food for youngsters this week, as they will not have access to the free school meals they receive during term-time.
It follows a campaign by Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford and a motion calling for Government to provide free school meals during holidays until Easter being voted down in Parliament.
Now, council leader Could David Molyneux has said the local authority will help the thousands of families who receive free school meals.
The council is funding a scheme to provide vouchers worth £15 per child per week, which are available for those aged four and upwards who attend schools in the borough.
Coun Molyneux said: “This is the right thing to do. Thousands of young children and families across our borough rely on free school meals and this means they will not go hungry over the school holidays.
“We acknowledge that families are facing unprecedented challenges at the moment and this decision will ease some of the burden.”
Around 10,500 children are eligible for free school meals across the borough and they wil be contacted by the council.
It follows thousands of children benefitting from school uniform vouchers earlier this year, after the council used emergency grant funding.
Coun Molyneux added: “We are aware that many businesses and organisations across the borough had started their own campaigns in the last few days to help out children eligible for free school meals over this October half-term.
“It is that sense of community spirit that typifies our borough and we would like to thank them for their efforts.
“It would be fantastic to see families use their vouchers to support local businesses and food pantries – in line with our community wealth building principles.”
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