Portsmouth City Council has announced it will provide families whose children receive free school meals with support over the Christmas period, to ensure children in the city do not go hungry.
The move follows the Government decision not to provide free school meals during half term and over the Christmas holidays.
Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “We are extremely disappointed that the Government has decided not to fund the poorest families in the city with food for their children over the half term and future holidays. It was our hope that the Government would continue to funding free school meals during the holidays but that hope has been dashed.
“We do not want any child to go hungry and we support Marcus Rashford in his campaign for all families with children who receive free school meals to receive food vouchers when children are away from school for holidays. These are families on very low incomes who really need this support.
“Half term starts today. Logistically we just can’t find a way to get money to parents for this half term but the council is making a commitment today to step in where the Government has failed and we will provide families of children with food tokens to cover the Christmas period. This will cost around £215,000 and will cover up to around 7050 children. In this terrible situation of the Covid pandemic the city council will step in to make sure no child in Portsmouth goes hungry at Christmas.”
The council has also provided additional funding for foodbanks in the city and has let schools know how families can access this support.