Plans to spend around £700,000 on free school meal vouchers have been formally agreed upon, ensuring thousands of vulnerable children across Kirklees stay healthy and fed.

Cabinet members confirmed the funding as part of the council’s wide-ranging support for children, young people and families across the district.

The money means £15 per week will be allocated to more than 15,000 eligible children over the upcoming school holidays and again at February half-term.

Another Cabinet meeting in the new year will set out the support for disadvantaged children and families throughout 2021.

Council Leader Cllr Shabir Pandor said:

“Helping children and young people to have the best start in life is central to everything we do. Covid-19 has had a huge impact on many families, so the school meals scheme has never been more vital – it is a lifeline for thousands of children.

We are delighted to be supporting children during the holidays once again. This was an easy decision for Cabinet to make and the funding will help children to be happier and healthier, both during the festive period and beyond. We will continue doing all we can to prevent hunger and disadvantage across the communities of Kirklees.”

Cllr Carole Pattison, Cabinet member for Learning, Aspiration and Communities, said:

“Helping the most vulnerable is an absolute priority for the council. Since the start of the pandemic we have worked closely with our partners, including schools, to offer a variety of excellent support for children, young people and families.

Ensuring people can access food is critical to supporting good health and better outcomes. This funding for the Christmas holidays and February half-term will bring long-term benefits and help children in Kirklees to fulfil their potential.”