Call for extension of school meal scheme

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is to write to the Education Minister requesting the continuation of free school meals/grants during school holiday periods.

The proposal to do so was brought forward at Council’s monthly meeting in April by Alliance Party group leader, Councillor Eoin Tennyson following a letter to Council from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

The letter notes Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is to write to the Education Minister Peter Weir MLA, to request the extension of free school meals/food grants during holiday periods after the current scheme ends, which it is due to do after Easter 2022.

Addressing the letter, Cllr Tennyson said everyone had been inspired by the efforts of the footballer Marcus Rashford this year and asked if Council could also write to the Education Minister with the same request as that put forward by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

DUP councillor Darryn Causby said he was broadly supportive of the proposal but sought to add a further request to the letter.

“I would like to point out that due to current COVID-19 regulations, currently youth organisations are still at 50 per cent capacity and are not permitted to serve food to young people,” he said.

“That, for me, is still a major issue as I know that for some of these young people, through no fault of their own, they do come to rely on this support.”

Cllr Causby then asked that a request to review this decision was added to the letter sent from Council and it was agreed by the chamber.


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