Vulnerable children in Wiltshire will benefit from free school meals this half-term after Wiltshire Council agreed to ensure families struggling with food poverty in the county are supported.
The decision has been praised by Melksham Councillor Jon Hubbard who chairs the council's Children's Select Committee.
Cllr Jon Hubbard: "No child should go hungry in Wiltshire"
Jon Hubbard said "I urge all families who are entitled to free school means to make sure that they contact the Wiltshire Hub by calling 0300 003 4576 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to claim.
"I share the feelings of many people about the national government's lack of action on this issue and would like to thank the administration at County Hall, along with the numerous local businesses, for stepping in and ensuring we will not have children going hungry this half term.
"It's shameful that this has had to become a national issue highlighted in the press for any action to take place at all levels of government and I hope that the measures being put in place during the current pandemic can be continued long into the future.
"No child should ever have to go hungry because of hardship. What is society if it doesn't take action to stop this sort of thing."
Free School Meals confirmed by council cabinet member
Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills, said: “We know that many families are feeling the financial pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we want to do all we can to support them.
“We want to ensure that children do not go hungry during these school holidays and want to ensure that Wiltshire families know that they will be supported during these difficult times by putting these measures in place.
"Therefore the council will be funding free meals during the October half term. This will be reviewed throughout the pandemic and we will continue to make sure that any child and family who needs help gets it. As we have done throughout, we will continue to work with our partners in the community and voluntary sector to make sure the needs of our residents are met at this unprecedented time.
"The work of our community groups has been, and continues to be, amazing and I must thank them for their tremendous support throughout the pandemic.
“If you are entitled to free school meals or universal credit and struggling to pay for food over half term, please contact the Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub for support.
“Everyone in Wiltshire needs to play their part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We ask that people regularly wash hands, maintain social distancing and wear face coverings where appropriate. This is the best way to keep us all safe as much as possible, and helps to prevent the spread of the virus."
For more information on how to claim, please contact the Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub Team on email@example.com or call 0300 003 4576. The team is available Monday to Friday between 9am-5pm.
The Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub website can be found at https://adults.wiltshire.gov.uk/Services/1544