20/11/2020

School Holiday Food Grants Extended Until 2022

The families of children entitled to Free School Meals are to continue to receive food grants during this years Christmas holidays, Education Minister Peter Weir has confirmed.

The Minister said that the scheme has now been extended until Easter 2022 and is expected to benefit more than 100,000 children.

Mr Weir said: "I welcome today's decision by the Executive to support my proposal to fund a School Holiday Food Grant scheme. This is very good news, especially for those families who are struggling financially during this pandemic.

"The issue of 'holiday hunger' has become an increasing concern this year and I have worked, with my Executive colleagues, to address this by providing food payments to families during the summer and Halloween holidays and indeed when schools were forced to close.

"I realise the vital importance for children who normally receive a free school meal to have access to a nutritious meal without placing their family under further hardship in these difficult times."
News Image
"This is a very worrying time for families particularly those with school age children and these payments will help to support them during school holiday periods. Access to a healthy nutritious meal should be a basic right for all children and it is vital that we continue this support to ensure children and young people come back to school after holiday periods, healthy and ready to learn. Their future depends on it."

School holiday grant payments will be made direct to families to cover all school holiday periods, including mid-term breaks (approximately 20 weeks) between Christmas 2020 and Easter 2022.

Concluding the Minister said: "Over 100,000 children are currently entitled to a free school meal. As Christmas 2020 approaches the Executive recognises the additional challenges all families will face and in particular those with school aged children.

"The School Holiday Food Grant scheme will help struggling families to provide food for their children and leave them with one less issue to worry about."

Families of children entitled to free school meals should receive a two week grant payment from week beginning 14 December.

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

02 March 2018
Schools Closures Across NI
The Department of Education have published a list of all schools across that have confirmed they will be closed today, Friday 2nd March, 2018 due to the adverse weather conditions.
22 January 2013
Heavy Snow Closes Over 80 Schools
Over 80 schools across Northern Ireland have been closed as the heavy snow continues to cause disruption on Tuesday morning. The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning, as the snow is continuing to affect many roads. Areas which have been majorly disrupted include Lisburn, Castlereagh and Carryduff.
17 September 2013
Call To Extend Free School Meals
Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Chris Hazzard has called for free school meals to be extended for all children attending school.
02 August 2013
Parents Encouraged To Use School Uniform Grants
Education Minister John O'Dowd has encouraged parents to take advantage of school uniform grants. The Clothing Allowance Scheme covers pupils in primary, post-primary and special schools and is similar to free school meals with regards to its eligibility criteria.
24 November 2020
Lord Mayor Backs Christmas Family Appeal
Belfast's Lord Mayor Alderman Frank McCoubrey has backed a Christmas Family Appeal by the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul with Education Authority.