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Don’t miss out on free school meals

Local families who receive certain benefits, and who are on very low incomes, could be entitled to claim free school meals.

Applications are made online. Help is on hand to complete the form through your child’s school. You can contact the council’s Family Information Service by calling 020 8825 5588 or by emailing children@ealing.gov.uk.

Children of eligible families receive a nutritious lunch every day in school. The child’s school is also given extra funding for every child who claims. This money can be used by the school to buy extra resources and teaching time to give a helping hand to children from low-income households.

Currently, other benefits include free food vouchers during the February half term and Easter holidays. These are sent directly to families that receive free school meals. They don’t need to apply separately.

And eligible families will also be able to sign up for the council’s free Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme in the Easter holidays. HAF is a free holiday club with activities like sports and drama. Children who are attending are also given a midday meal as part of their day.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for decent living incomes, said: “We know that some parents who are eligible for free school meals don’t claim. This might be because they may not realise that they qualify, or are discouraged by the form, or they think their children won’t like the lunch.

“I strongly encourage all of these parents to make an application. Free school meals benefit your school as well as your child and we, and your school, are here to help get that form completed.”

Families in crisis may also be able to get help with food and energy costs from the council’s Local Welfare Assistance team. The team can also help with debt advice, budgeting and improving chances of finding a job.

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