Welsh Government to continue funding free school meals during summer holidays

Wrexham’s Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths has welcomed the news children in Wales will continue to receive free school meals during the coronavirus pandemic.

Wales has become the first country in the UK to guarantee ongoing funding for the provision of free school meals until schools reopen or until the end of August.

The Welsh Labour Government has confirmed each eligible child will receive the equivalent of £19.50 a week.

With the support of the Welsh Local Government Association, the Welsh Government will make £33 million available to help local authorities continue to provide free school meals.

Lesley Griffiths AM has praised the Welsh Government’s investment and hopes the funding will enable Wrexham Council to improve its provision of free school meals.

She said: “Many constituents, including local Labour councillors, have contacted me about this issue so I trust this latest announcement will be welcomed.  It provides reassurance the most vulnerable in our communities will continue to be supported by the Welsh Labour Government during the coronavirus crisis.”

“However, locally serious concerns have been raised with me regarding Wrexham Council’s ‘Grab & Go’ initiative, with indications suggesting the uptake is nowhere near the figures which exist for those children eligible.”

“This is a critical and challenging time for many families and I am very worried about the health and welfare of children who, through no fault of their own, may be going hungry.”

“I have made urgent representations to the Welsh Government and Wrexham Council on the matter.  Although the Council has indicated that from Monday 4th May money will be paid directly into bank accounts, there is an example of at least one Local Authority in Wales that has been providing direct payments to parents and guardians since the end of March.  I hope this latest announcement will enable Wrexham Council to swiftly reassess and improve their provision of free school meals to ensure all those eligible receive direct payments as soon as possible.”

In the revised guidance issued to local authorities, the Welsh Government outlines three options for providing free school meals, requiring the least amount of social interaction:

  • The provision of vouchers
  • The delivery of food items to the families of pupils in receipt of free school meals
  • A transfer of funds to the bank accounts of families eligible for free school meals (BACS payments)

To find out how your local council will provide free school meals, please use the postcode search function here: https://gov.wales/free-school-meals-coronavirus-guidance-schools

If you are eligible for free school meals and are not yet receiving them, please contact your local authority.