Thousands of children and young people in York will benefit from Free School Meals during this week’s half term break.

City of York Council’s Executive agreed an additional £150,000 investment in its Free School Meal voucher scheme, which was set up to beat hunger during the school holidays, last month.

A total £228,000 has been put forward to fund further Free School Meals and provide additional support to help York residents through the coming winter months.

The council has invested £150,000 in its Free School Meal voucher scheme, and a further additional £78,000 to fund community support schemes. Both funds are designed to help alleviate some of the financial pressures which many are expected to experience after the furlough scheme and the £20 Universal Credit uplift end this autumn.

The additional support for families during the school holidays was agreed following an increase in the number of eligible pupils from 2,721 in January 2020 to 3,347 in January 2021. This new scheme aims to benefit families on lower incomes and will run from autumn half term in 2021, until the February 2022 half term. It will also include the week in the Christmas holidays which is not already covered by the Holiday Activities and Food Programme Fund.

Cllr Ian Cuthbertson, the council’s Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, said:

We know that many families will be concerned about the financial cost of the school holidays, which bring increased food bills for many, but will also produce extra childcare pressures and costs.

"I hope that the additional funding will help take some of the pressure off families over the coming months.”

Schools will order the vouchers directly and parents of children on Free School Meals can order the vouchers through their school.

Image credit - PA