May 28, 2021 4.56 pm This story is over 14 months old

30% rise in children needing free school meals in Lincolnshire since pandemic started

Half-term free meals to continue

Lincolnshire has seen almost a 30% rise in children eligible for free school meals since the coronavirus pandemic started.

Data from Lincolnshire County Council revealed in January 2020, pre-pandemic, 17,612 Lincolnshire pupils were eligible for free school meals, compared to the latest figure of 22,675 – a 28.7% increase.

The council have said during half-term food or vouchers will again be provided to all educational settings as well as additional support.

This comes as Labour has called on the Conservative government for a free school meals extension over half-term and summer holidays after 418,000 children became eligible for free school meals from March to December 2020 nationally.

Cllr Patricia Bradwell OBE, executive member for children’s services, said: “Like most other areas, Lincolnshire has seen an increase in the number of children eligible for free school meals during the last year.

“Not only can these families receive free meals at school during term-time, but they will also be able to access the additional support the government has put in place because of the pandemic.”

She added: “During half-term, food or vouchers will again be provided via local schools, early years providers, colleges and other educational settings.

“In addition, we are currently working with a number of local schools on plans for a government-funded Holiday Activities and Food programme for the summer, and hope to provide eligible families with further details via their child’s school in the coming weeks.”