LETTER: Petition calls on council to provide free school meals during half term

I’m involved in a petition calling on Cambridgeshire County Council to provide free school meals over the school holidays:

I’m involved in a petition calling on Cambridgeshire County Council to provide free school meals over the school holidays.

Even after the government refused to extend free school meals programmes nationally, many councils offered to do so locally from their own pockets.

Council budgets are already strained, so this shows how far many of them will go to support their communities.

Sadly, Cambridgeshire County Council is not one of those councils.

Our petition was launched at the weekend and has already hit almost 700 signatures.

We believe our campaign is having an impact, as Cambridgeshire County Council issued a press release entitled: “Cambridgeshire hubs offer support to vulnerable families during half term”.

MORE: Free school meals: Here’s where you can go for half-term support in March and Chatteris

But they are not actually offering the support needed. The Cambridgeshire food hubs are not new. They were set up back in the spring to support people who were shielding/vulnerable due to Covid-19. They were not designed to support families who rely on free school meals.

The county council has not provided any new funding or resources to cover the lack of free school meals over the school holidays. They are not offering the (much simpler) voucher scheme used elsewhere in the country - they are merely signposting people off to an existing provision.

MORE: Where to go in Ely and East Cambs for help in feeding your child over half term

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This means we will be keeping up the pressure and continuing our petition.

The county council are misleading people by attempting to rebrand their Covid-19 hubs as a new provision - rather than offer what is actually needed: a proper extension to the free school meals programme.

You can sign the petition here: http://chng.it/XMPt6CY9

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