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Free school meals to be extended into school holidays

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The Welsh Government have announced that Wales has taken another step towards ending holiday hunger, confirming that children will be able to access free school meals during the school holidays.

The Welsh Government is investing a further £21.4m to make free school meals available to all eligible children in the Easter, Whitsun and summer holidays this year.

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The move comes as increasing numbers of families are struggling with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, and fears that children may go hungry in the holidays.

Speaking on a visit to Ysgol Maes y Felin and Ysgol Treffynnon in Holywell, North Wales, on the eve of the Welsh Labour conference, Welsh Labour leader and First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“The cost-of-living crisis is putting families under real pressure – too many are having to make terrible choices between heating or eating as prices soar.

“Our Labour Government is doing everything it can to help people pay their bills and put food on the table.

“This extra funding for free school meals during the Easter, Whitsun and summer holidays will ensure children get a good meal even when they aren’t in school.”

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The Welsh Government has invested more than £83m on free school meals during the pandemic, with more than 95,500 children and young people regularly receive free school meals across Wales.

Wales was praised by food poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford for making free school meals available during the school holidays at the height of the pandemic.

This latest round of funding continues holiday provision of free school meals just as Wales is poised to end all legal pandemic measures and move beyond the emergency response to coronavirus.

Welsh Government Education Minister Jeremy Miles said: “I want all children and young people in Wales to have access to healthy and nutritious food in school and during the holidays. No one should be going hungry.

“I’m very proud our Welsh Labour Government can carry on the work we started during the pandemic and extend holiday provision through to the end of the summer holidays.

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“This funding also includes a discretionary free school meal fund, which will allow schools to provide a free meal to pupils who come to school hungry, including those children who are not normally eligible for free school meals and those who have no recourse to public funding.”

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