School holiday meals for North Northants' 10,000 poorest kids set to be funded by £459k pot

The scheme will be paid for with Government money that has been handed to NNC to help families in need

By Kate Cronin
Saturday, 19th February 2022, 6:28 am

Children who receive free school meals will continue to get them funded during school holidays if a North Northamptonshire Council proposal gets the go-ahead.

The authority is set to decide whether to use £459,000 to pay for meals for 10,095 of the area's most needy youngsters during school holidays.

Along with many other authorities across the country, during the pandemic NNC began funding vouchers for those families that receive free school meals because many could not afford to feed their kids during the school holidays.

Image: Getty

Now members will decide whether to continue with the scheme using cash from the Government's Household Support Grant.

A report that will go to the council's executive next Tuesday (February 22) will recommend the continuation of the project.

The council has funded vouchers since the half term holiday of October 2020 after a successful national campaign by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford and others. NNC continued their support during the Easter holidays in 2021 and have done so in every holiday period since then.

The report states that the number of people eligible for free school meals grew during the pandemic and is 'highly likely' to increase further.

Vouchers worth £15 per child per week would cost NNC £306,000 during the Easter holidays and another estimated £153, 000 during the May half term.

The household support grant, worth £2,508,248 to NNC, is a grant from central government aimed at providing financial support to vulnerable families coping with the effects of the pandemic. It is from this pot that the meals would be funded. The terms of the grant require that at least 50 per cent is used to support families with children.

The council uses online firm Hugg to distribute the vouchers to schools and headteachers then give them to the families who are eligible. They can be spent in Aldi, Asda, Marks and Spencer, McColls Newsagents, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

The scheme has already funded £1,195,000 of vouchers in our area since April last year.

Members at Tuesday's meeting will be asked to consider four options, which include not funding school meals at all. The officers recommend that the executive goes ahead with the proposal.

The meeting takes place at 10am in the Corby Cube council chamber and is open to the public.