Posted: 06.04.20 at 12:43 by The Editor
Pupils in Barry who receive free school meals will now be able to claim them using supermarket vouchers in Asda and Tesco as they are sent out by the Vale of Glamorgan council.
Vale of Glamorgan Council staff has been working flat out to ensure no child eligible for a free school meal goes hungry during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Though schools closed for normal lessons after the crisis hit, many continued providing free meals to the pupils entitled to them.
But, after it emerged only a small fraction of these were being claimed, Council officers began working on a new way of administering this provision.
Now the parents of the 3000 Vale pupils in receipt of free school meals have been sent vouchers, which can be used to purchase food from a local supermarket.
In just 48 hours, arrangements were put in place for Tesco and Asda vouchers to be distributed and it is hoped a similar system can be established with other food outlets, including smaller operators located in the rural Vale.
A Parent will receive a £39 voucher every fortnight, which equates to 10 school meals worth £3.90 each for each eligible child.
Staff have also responded to requests from some parents for an alternative system, putting food bags together in some instances, while the Council continues to explore all other avenues of support and work with Welsh Government on this issue.
Cllr Lis Burnett, Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Education, said: “The Coronavirus has presented the whole world with completely unexpected challenges and it’s no different for Council departments.
“I have been immensely proud of the way Council staff have responded to such difficult circumstances and there is no better example of that than within our Learning and Skills teams.
“In just two days, the staff working there have established a completely new system for administering free school meal provision so that no child goes without.
“The need to develop this system so quickly inevitably means there will be some fine-tuning along the way. With that in mind, I would ask parents to let us know if they experience any glitches in the system and thank them for their patience and appreciation of the difficult circumstances our staff are working in.
“I’d like to pass on my sincere thanks to all those responsible for putting this system in place. Their hard work will make a real difference to some of the Vale’s most vulnerable children and is a shining example of the kind of selfless commitment that is so important at this time.”