During February half term, food will be provided for children by local authorities under the Covid Winter Grant Scheme.
The Covid Winter Grant Scheme is a £170m package distributed by councils to support children, families and the hardest hit during the pandemic.
This funding is ring-fenced and has been extended to cover the period until the end of March 2021. 80% of this fund is set aside for help with food costs.
Sheffield City Council said: “We have pledged to support thousands of children and young people with a free school meals food voucher during the half-term holiday.”
Free school meals are provided by schools during term time yet during the holidays, vouchers must be provided by local councils.
This comes after Manchester United footballer, Marcus Rashford, launched a campaign for the government to provide free school meals during the school holidays. He has since been awarded an MBE for his determination to tackle child poverty.
Guys, a note about Feb half term.
Local councils were funded to cover this hol as part of Covid Winter Grant, whether that be parcels, vouchers, etc. If funding has run out, we must all encourage local councils to connect with @DWP now so that this can be sorted. Please tag yours https://t.co/GlD9mzNtAo
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) January 31, 2021
Mother, Jane Smart, said: “The box was not of any help to us due to my daughter’s health needs. We have had no help whatsoever.”
Local councils providing meals in half term rather than schools has been criticised by the National Education Union who said: “disadvantaged children could end up missing out because the fund does not offer blanket provision to every pupil who fits a certain definition of poverty in the same way free school meals do.”
Estella McNally, who has been furloughed due to the pandemic stated: “What about the furloughed parents who are not entitled to benefits? There is a lot more working-class families right now struggling more than ever.. every child should matter.”
Visit Sheffield City Council’s website to check if you are entitled to free school meals.