Herefordshire Council has confirmed that it will be providing more than 4,500 children with free school meals during the half term holidays in October, thanks to funding from Central Government.

The free school meal system is an important component of the support that is provided to low-income families. Providing vouchers in the school holidays for children entitled to free school meals is an extension to this support and will benefit over 4,653 children. 

Through this proposal, primary and secondary aged school pupils who are eligible for benefits related free school meals will receive a food voucher of £15 for October Half Term.

Household Consumer prices, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing cost (CPIH), were 14.9% higher in July 2023 than a year before. 

Low-income households spend a larger proportion than average on energy and food so will be more affected by price increases.

Herefordshire Council has received an allocation of £2,659,203.57 from the Department of Works and Pensions under the Household Support Fund.

The expectation is that the funding should be used primarily to support households in the most need, particularly those including children and pensioners who would otherwise struggle with energy, food and water bills as well as other essential costs.

By utilising the funding from government, this will have a positive impact on low income families and child poverty by minimising the debt burden on those that struggle to pay essential bills.

Herefordshire Council decision notice:

To provide a food voucher of £15 per child eligible for free school meals for the school October half term, at a total cost estimated to be £72,000.