Every school pupil in Hackney who is entitled to free meals at school will be offered vouchers for free meals during the school holidays, with extra support for families with younger children in need, as part of Council efforts to ensure that no child goes hungry this winter.

2,200 families with children under five years old who have been identified by Hackney’s children’s centres as needing additional support will also receive the vouchers. The Council and its partners will also be working to provide support for children in Hackney’s Orthodox Jewish communities, where the take up of free school meals is lower. 

12,000 school pupils in Hackney are eligible for free school meals. Free school meal vouchers will be sent to registered families electronically via the national free school meal voucher system Edenred. Parents can check if their child is eligible and apply online, to ensure that they get the support they need. 

The support, which will be available throughout the Christmas and February half-term holidays as part of a package of Council help to families who need it most, will continue and extend the free meals offered to Hackney school pupils during October half-term after the Council backed footballer Marcus Rashford’s free school meals campaign. 

The meal vouchers will be provided through the Government’s winter grant funding, which will support families in need this winter. This funding will also be used to fund a fuel voucher scheme run by East End Citizens Advice Bureau.

However, as this government funding will not provide help to everyone in Hackney who needs it, additional support will be provided by the Community Partnerships Network – a partnership between Hackney Council and local voluntary and community sector organisations set up to ensure continued support for vulnerable residents affected by the wider impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Residents who want to support the effort can make a cash donation to The Hackney Festive Food Fund or donate food items to local food hubs to help ensure that no child goes hungry this Christmas. 

Parents with any questions about how they will receive the Free School Meal vouchers, or for more information, should contact their school or children’s centre.

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