Hundreds of children miss out on free meals

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Almost 2,000 children in Wellingborough, Kettering and Corby are missing out on free school meals, according to a charity.

The Children’s Society, through its Fair and Square campaign, has revealed that 700 children in Wellingborough, 600 in Corby and 500 in Kettering are missing out a free school lunch, which for some may be the only proper meal they get.

The charity is calling on the government to make free school meals available to all children in poverty, and is urging people to contact their MP to support this call.

For parents in poverty, finding the £370 a year needed for each child’s school meal often means struggling to provide their children with the basics, including buying them shoes for school and heating the home.

Many low-income families are unable to get free school meals simply because their parents are working – no matter how little they earn.

The Children’s Society Chief Executive Matthew Reed said: “It is shocking that huge numbers of children in poverty are missing out on a free school meal. Every child in poverty should be entitled to this vital support.

“We know from the families we work with up and down the country that parents are struggling to make ends meet. Right now, the government is reconsidering which children will be entitled to get free school meals. We urge the government to take this opportunity to make sure all children in poverty can get a free school meal.”

Across the country every day, more than half of the 2.2 million school children living in poverty in England miss out on a free school meal. Of these, 700,000 are not even entitled to one – often because their parents work, regardless of how little they earn.

For more information visit The Children’s Society’s Fair and Square campaign at www.childrenssociety.org.uk/fairandsquare