Posted: Tue 23rd Apr 2024

Flintshire: Urgent meeting to address holiday support for children on free school meals

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales


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An urgent meeting has been called to discuss how children in Flintshire who receive free school meals will be supported during the holidays.

In 2020, the Welsh Government introduced a scheme to ensure families facing financial difficulties were provided with free dinners throughout school holidays.

The initiative was aimed at helping people struggling during the cost of living crisis by providing the families of eligible children with either a direct payment, vouchers or food.

However, the support was ended by ministers in June last year as they said they could no longer afford to fund it.

Following the decision, Flintshire Council stepped in to provide payments of £25 per eligible child over the most recent Christmas holiday period to alleviate food poverty in the county.

The decision to approve the funding occurred after a debate was tabled by local Liberal Democrat councillors.

The political group has now called a full council meeting early next month to discuss how children in Flintshire will be supported during future holidays after being backed by independent councillors.

Leader of the Flintshire Liberal Democrats, Cllr Andrew Parkhurst, said: “Providing free school holiday meals is very important because, frankly, it feeds hungry children.

“The only issue here is ensuring hungry children do not fall through the cracks.

“Children here in Wales should not be going hungry because schools on are on holiday.”

The Welsh Government admitted earlier this year that it had failed to follow the law when deciding to withdraw funding for free holiday meals.

Despite the acknowledgement, which followed a legal challenge being mounted by families, ministers said they were still unable to reinstate financial support.

Councillors in Flintshire have used a “notice of requisition” procedure to call a meeting on May 7th to discuss how holiday school meal support will be provided locally.

Independent councillor Bill Crease said it was important for the issue to be addressed.

He said: “After the last debate on free school holiday meals, councillors from across the chamber welcomed the issue being raised as it stopped hundreds of children across Flintshire from going hungry over Christmas.

“With the cost-of-living crisis still biting, we now need to debate what more the council can do to help.”

By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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