Free School Meal support to continue through the summer holidays

Blaenau Gwent Council has today approved funding to continue to provide financial support to families eligible for Free School Meals throughout the summer holidays.

Families will continue to be entitled to a £19.50 a week direct payment per child for the duration of the break. On the return to school in September, all primary school pupils will be entitled to a free school lunch during term times.

Councillors across the political spectrum today unanimously approved a one-off draw from reserves to fund the scheme, which was formerly funded by Welsh Government from the start of the Pandemic. Welsh Government recently confirmed it would no longer be funding the holiday provision.

Concerns had been raised locally about how the withdrawal of this support could affect vulnerable and low-income families in Blaenau Gwent, as the Cost of Living crisis continues to have a significant impact.

Councillor Sue Edmunds, the Council’s Cabinet Member for People & Education says:

“Over 2,500 children benefitted from the Free School Meals payment in the last half-term holiday in May, that’s a lot of children who could potentially suffer as the result of losing that support.

“We acknowledge the position of Welsh Government in not continuing to fund the scheme across Wales, and so we have looked locally to see what we could do as a Council to ensure this support can continue to be delivered for the summer holidays which are upon us now.

“As the Cost of Living crisis continues to have a significant impact, it is vital that our children and young people have food available and that some pressure can be taken off these families so that they can enjoy the holidays together. I’m pleased that all political colleagues have recognised the importance of this, and that we have been able to come together to offer support to some of our most vulnerable and low-income families here in Blaenau Gwent.”

If you were previously in receipt of direct payments there is no need to re-apply. New applications can be made here.