More details on meals for Somerset children

Over the weekend we reported that Somerset county Council (SCC) would be acting on the free school meals issue. They announced that £125,000 had been set aside to support the neediest children in the county. The extra funds and the 27,000 extra meals that would be provided by it were welcome. The unanswered question, was how would children in isolated rural communities access this help.

Today SCC gave us a statement that in part at least addresses the questions we asked of them: “We want to make sure no child or adult in Somerset goes hungry. Our aim is to meet the immediate need for food and work with the family to address underlying needs. This is because if a child is hungry there are usually other issues we would want to help them address – financial, housing, mental health and wellbeing, employment, skills, etc. “The £125,000 is part of a package of over £500k that we are investing in a range of community support schemes, including Village Agents, foodbanks and neighbourhood larders/pantries. The additional funds will allow school caterers to produce a further 27,000 meals for distribution to those in need over this half term, weekends and this winter. We are grateful to Somerset’s many amazing communities and businesses who are offering donations and will look to connect those in need with donations in the first instance via helpoutwhenschoolsout.co.uk and kidsmealsmap.co.uk. However, anyone who is struggling to access support can call our Coronavirus helpline on 0300 790 6275 and we will ensure help and food is made available.”

The Leveller is aware this does not directly deal with all aspects of the questions we asked. The proof as ever is in the eating – quite literally. We would be interested to hear from readers of the personal experience of getting help, most immediately during the half term. More to the point, are there gaps in the service or is it delivering as it should be?

What remains much less clear, is how much of the money SCC are spending will be reimbursed by central government.

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