Salford City Council is inviting parents and carers of children who are eligible for free school meals to apply over the Christmas period.

Vouchers worth £45 will be posted directly to the families of children to cover Christmas and February half-term holidays.

However, Salfordians have welcomed the news, with some offering personal stories on the subject.

One Facebook user said: “It’s the children that suffer, not the parents. Also the cost of living is simply not keeping up with the benefit system. Rent, energy bills and food costs are rising sharply whilst shareholders and landlords make tidy profits.”

Salford Poverty Truth Commission added: “Wages do not cover the cost of living – pay does not increase like the cost of living does.”

Another user opened up about their personal struggles and said: “I’m in the gap £800 income all bills paid can’t get FSM pay an extra £75 a month in dinners and travel for my child’s schooling and meals, I get told go on UC I will be better off.

“I’ve worked hard for years to struggle my back out, not only that if you are on FSM you can get free passes to classes, swimming etc…council systems ticking boxes I’m doomed.”

Salford Poverty Truth Commission added: “It’s a good thing that the council are recognising that children need leisure time and hobbies for their wellbeing but there are still 1000s of children who do not get access to this despite their parents working, maybe being on low incomes and not being able to afford the costs for their children.

“We have a serious problem with working parents who are just above the threshold for this help but desperately need it for their children.”

Last year almost 2,000 free school meals claimed in Salford during the half-term holidays with vouchers worth short of £20,000 were handed out across the city and 700 being collected on the first day that they were available.

The meal vouchers became available after Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett decided on October 23rd that they would be available during the school holiday, also extending the offer to cover the Christmas period.

Last year he said: “The free meals in the school holidays have been a massive success. A big thank you to all those behind the scenes who made it happen.

“It is a national disgrace that this government voted against funding free school meals in the school holidays. As a result, we had to take action and I am proud we did not let our young people go hungry. These young people are the future of this incredible city, and we need to do all we can for them.

“It wasn’t just the council making vouchers available, many charitable groups and organizations also provided meals and grab bags and did their bit to help. It is fantastic, they have the Spirit of Salford and are a credit to this city.

“It makes me so proud when Salfordians come together when we need it most.”

• Parents and carers can apply for free school meals on this website

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *