Somerset County Council has allocated a further £427,000 of funding to help schools provide families with food support during this lockdown.
During term time, the Department for Education (DfE) has asked schools to provide meal options for all pupils who are in school – including vulnerable children and the children of critical workers – as well as those children being home-schooled who are eligible for Free School Meals.
The decision on whether to provide boxes or vouchers rests with the individual schools. However, Somerset County Council is working with them to ensure that Somerset food boxes meet or exceed the DfE standard.
Somerset County Council is providing schools with an additional £427,000 to enhance the level of food provided and meet dietary requirements. The Council recognises that some children are not eligible for Free School Meals but for one reason or another would benefit from receiving food support. Therefore, this funding can also be used by schools to support a wider range of children.
Ahead of the February half term, all schools in Somerset have also been provided with funding from the Winter Covid Grant scheme for every child who receives Free School Meals. This funding can be used to provide vouchers or food.
Councillor David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “It is imperative that no-one goes hungry in Somerset. The measures we have put in place to provide additional funding for schools mean that there is food support available for children who are eligible for Free School Meals, as well as other families who know need some help during these challenging times.
I’d like to thank all our schools who are working hard to allocate food, and all of our partners who are supporting the food resilience programme. It is very much a team effort to ensure there is enough food for everyone in Somerset.”
This funding for schools is just part of a much wider network of support in the county during the pandemic which has ensured people in Somerset have access to food, personal, financial and emotional support.
Somerset’s local authorities are working with organisations including foodbanks, FareShare, HIS Church, Somerset Community Council Village Agents and many voluntary and community groups across Somerset to provide food items and frozen meals for immediate use, as well as supporting the development of new community pantries and larders to help communities have longer term sustainable solutions in place.