Families in East Riding to get vouchers to feed children during Easter holidays

It comes as councillors heard an increase in the number of families claiming free school meals is expected to continue

Spare funding is set to fund vouchers for East Riding free school meal families through the Easter holidays, councillors have heard.

East Riding Council’s Cabinet heard extra cash left over from funds to help households would be used to fund the scheme. Council Children and Young People’s Portfolio Holder Cllr Victoria Aitken said the continuation of funding was a positive step for families on the free school meals programme.

It comes as councillors also heard more than 8,050 children from 7,423 families were getting free school meals as of December. Council Children’s Director Eoin Rush said the figure was up from 6,700 children from around 5,300 families in February 2021.

Mr Rush added the numbers were expected to continue going up but getting on the programme was good news for eligible families. The cabinet heard it was in part due to the council writing to eligible families who were not already enrolled on the free school meals programme.

The council first started providing supermarket vouchers to free school meal families during the school holidays in 2020, following a campaign from England footballer Marcus Rashford. The £10 vouchers, rising to £20 at Christmas, are part of the council’s Holiday Activities and Food Programme which is also set to run during Easter.

The council’s draft budget proposes ring-fencing funding for the vouchers in the coming financial year. The draft budget stated 378 children have recently been automatically added to free school meals rolls.

Having more children on the rolls also increases funding to their schools through pupil premium payments.